Mubarak in first visit to south Sudan

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JUBA: President Hosni Mubarak flew to the southern Sudanese capital Juba for the first time on Monday after discussing the Darfur crisis with President Omar Al-Beshir in Khartoum.

Mubarak met with former southern rebel leader and First Vice President Salva Kiir and discussed the Comprehensive Peace Agreement which in 2005 ended Africa s longest running war, between north and south Sudan.

The two men discussed peace in the south Sudan and the CPA, Egypt s official MENA news agency reported, during a visit aimed at cementing stability and unity in Sudan.

Mubarak arrived from talks in Khartoum on the crisis in Darfur, where Al-Beshir stands accused of war crimes and genocide.

The best way to find a solution to this problem (the conflict in Darfur) is the Arab and African initiative, Mubarak told reporters in the capital, without going into detail.

Mubarak supports a position advocated by the African Union that Al-Beshir be allowed time to implement a ceasefire in Sudan s western region of Darfur, where Khartoum has been accused of brutally repressing a five-year uprising.

To that effect, the African Union and the Arab League have asked the UN Security Council to delay any decision from the International Criminal Court (ICC) on whether to formally indict the Sudanese head of state.

For a long time we discussed the situation in Darfur. The crisis in Darfur is very complicated and we are trying to find a solution in cooperation with the Sudanese government, Mubarak said.

Although he did not mention the ICC, an Egyptian official told AFP the talks would deal with accusations from the court s prosecutor that Al Beshir is guilty of 10 counts of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

After less than two hours in the Sudanese capital, Mubarak boarded his presidential jet and took off for Juba, the seat of the semi-autonomous southern government that shares power with Al-Beshir at a central level.

Sudanese Foreign Minister Deng Alor told reporters in Khartoum that Mubarak asked many questions about the implementation of the 2005 CPA, and how to work for the unity of the country.

There are deep-set fears among the international community that an ICC indictment could have serious repercussions on the implementation of the 2005 deal that ended what was Africa s longest running civil war.

He (Mubarak) said the government of Sudan has to support the government of southern Sudan and he is on his way to Juba to discuss these issues with the government of south Sudan, said Alor.

He said the ICC did not come up in the open meeting, but that perhaps it was discussed in the closed talks between Al-Beshir and Mubarak.

Mubarak, accompanied by Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit and Intelligence Chief Omar Suleiman, was embraced by Al-Beshir on the red carpet and treated to an honor guard at Khartoum airport.

ICC judges have given the prosecution until Nov. 17 to provide additional evidence

before they decide whether to issue a warrant for Al-Beshir s arrest.

Sudan is seeking to avert an ICC trial and convince a skeptical West that it is serious about unblocking stalled peace efforts in Darfur.

ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo in July accused the Sudanese leader of personally instructing his forces to annihilate three non-Arab ethnic groups in Darfur, where a civil war has been raging since 2003. -AFP

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