Home | News    Monday 28 July 2003

Sudanese minister in Uganda in bid to end row over rebel backing

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KAMPALA, July 28 (AFP) — Sudan’s Defence Minister Major General Bekri Hassan Salih arrived here Monday for talks with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, who last month accused Khartoum of arming Ugandan rebels, officials said.

Salih arrived in Kampala in the late morning as a special envoy of Sudanese President Omar al-Beshir, a foreign ministry official said.

Last month, Museveni accused Khartoum of secretly arming the Ugandan rebel group, Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), and warned that the alleged support of insurgents threatened to "fundamentally change the relationship" between the two neighbours.

Khartoum expressed "astonishment" over Museveni’s claim, made despite a 1999 accord under which both countries pledged to normalise strained relations and to stop supporting and sheltering each other’s rebel groups.

Sudan had for its part accused Uganda of supporting the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA).

Museveni and Beshir met in Kampala in July last year and agreed to step up security along their border to stem cross-border raids by the LRA.

Relations between the two countries had improved after Beshir said in 2001 that his government had stopped supporting the LRA, a notoriously brutal Ugandan insurgency said to have rear bases in government-controlled areas of southern Sudan.

Contacts between the two governments continued at ministerial level following last year’s summit.

Early last year, Khartoum allowed Kampala’s troops to track down Ugandan rebels inside Sudan.

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