UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA - AFRICAN STUDIES CENTER
SUDAN-ERITREA: Reconciliation agreement signed
NAIROBI, 3 May (IRIN) - President Omar Hassan al-Bashir of Sudan and Eritrean President Isaias Afewerki on Sunday signed an agreement aimed at settling the five-year dispute between the two countries, news agencies reported.
The agreement, brokered by Qatar and signed in the capital Doha, strives to restore diplomatic ties, halt negative media campaigns and stop support to each other's opposition movements, Qatar's Al-Jazeera television said. Sudanese government spokesman Ghazi Salah al-Din told Radio Omdurman that there was "willingness on both sides" to normalise relations, while Yemeni television quoted Afewerki as saying the agreement would be followed by joint committee talks on disputed issues.
External support for the Sudanese armed opposition has dwindled since the outbreak of conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea nearly a year ago. A regional analyst told IRIN last week that elements of the Sudanese opposition had become "disorientated" by shifting regional alliances.
Eritrea hosts the Sudanese opposition coalition group the National Democratic Alliance (NDA). Omar Nureldayem, secretary-general of Sudan's Umma Party and member of the leadership council of the NDA, told IRIN on Monday that the effect of the agreement on the Asmara-based NDA "remains o be seen, but our relations with our brothers in Eritrea and Ethiopia is good enough." Eritrean authorities had informed the NDA of the agreement in advance. "This was not a surprise to us," Nureldayem said. The NDA was "not against" the restoration of relations between Sudan and Eritrea, he added.
Nureldayem said Eritrean authorities have invited the NDA leadership council to a meeting, to be held in Asmara on 24 May, to "thrash out all problems and discuss our future relations and other issues." NDA activities were continuing as usual, and its forces on Sunday had attacked a village along the Atbara River, capturing an army vehicle and three government soldiers, he said.
Meanwhile, former Sudanese prime minister Sadiq al-Mahdi, also a leader of the NDA, held a meeting with the speaker of the National Assembly, Hassan al-Turabi, in Geneva on Saturday, aimed at finding a peaceful settlement to the Sudan conflict, news agencies said.
Date: Mon, 3 May 1999 17:50:06 +0300 (EAT) From: IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: SUDAN-ERITREA: Reconciliation agreement signed 
Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D
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