KHARTOUM, Sudan: President Hosni Mubarak made a surprise visit to Khartoum on Tuesday, his first in more than a decade, and held talks with Sudan s president on the conflict in the Darfur region.
The talks came a day after a top U.N. envoy, Jan Egeland, protested over what he called a Sudanese governmental decision to bar him from visiting Darfur and Khartoum this week.
Egeland, U.N. undersecretary-general for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief, said the government was trying to prevent him from seeing the deteriorating situation in the war-torn region. The West Darfur state government acknowledged not allowing his flight to land though the central government denied barring him.
Mubarak and Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir held talks on developments in the situation in Darfur, Sudan s state news agency reported.
In Cairo, Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul-Gheit told reporters that the two leaders were pursuing efforts to achieve a peace agreement that provides stability and development to the people of Sudan and especially the people of Darfur.
Asked about sending Arab troops to Darfur, Abul-Gheit said this should be within the framework of a peace agreement to be reached between the Sudanese government and the other parties of the conflict.
Mubarak has not visited Sudan since the 1995 assassination attempt on his life in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, which senior Sudanese officials were thought to have been behind.
Sudanese opposition leader Hassan Turabi said earlier last month that some of those who planned the Addis Ababa assassination plot were still serving in the current Sudanese government.
The Egyptian leader did not attend a summit meeting of the Arab League held in Khartoum last week, saying he was busy with domestic issues.
The summit largely lent its support to Sudan, saying that U.N. peacekeepers should not be deployed in Darfur without the Khartoum government s permission. The Arab leaders promised to help fund African Union peacekeepers in the region and increase the number of Arab soldiers in the force.
In their talks, Mubarak assured Al-Bashir of Egypt s commitment to Sudan s security and stability and called for an international effort to improve the situation in southern Sudan in the wake of a power-sharing deal between Khartoum and former southern rebels, Egypt s state news agency MENA quoted presidential spokesman Suleiman Awwad as saying.
The United Nations has described Darfur as the site of the world s gravest humanitarian crisis. The 3 year-old conflict, setting the Arab-dominated government and militias against ethnic African tribes, has left some 180,000 dead, most from disease and hunger, and displaced another 2 million from their homes. Sudan s government and rebels in Darfur have made little headway in peace talks in Abuja, Nigeria. AP