Home | News    Saturday 26 July 2003

Southern Sudan would collapse if granted independence from north: Mubarak

CAIRO, July 26 (AFP) — Granting southern Sudan independence from Khartoum would "tear the region to shreds" and would be "dangerous" for both sides, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said Saturday.

"Unilateral separation of the south from the north, not based on the will of the people, would tear the region to shreds," Mubarak said during a meeting with students in the northern city of Alexandria.

"The south is only a strong entity when joined to the north as one state," added Mubarak, in remarks broadcast live on Egyptian state television.

"Any agreement aimed at partition ... should be put to a public referendum, " he stressed, before adding that "division is a danger for the north and south".

The last round of peace talks between Khartoum and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army ground to a halt on July 12 in Nakuru, Kenya, when the government rejected draft proposals on outstanding issues such as power- and wealth-sharing and security arrangements during a six-year transition period for the south agreed in 2002.

Following the breakdown in negotiations, Egypt called for more "balanced" proposals to be put forward by east African mediators.

Kenyan officials said Friday that talks to end the country’s 20-year civil war are scheduled to resume in Nairobi around August 10.