Mubarak and Qaddafi meet Sudanese leaders
Dina Ezzat, Tuesday 21 Dec 2010
Egyptian and Libyan presidents to meet Sudanese leaders as the south prepares to vote on its future

President Hosni Mubarak is expected to arrive today in Khartoum for talks with the leaders of the north and south of Sudan ahead of next month's referendum on southern secession.

The summit in the Sudanese capital will also be attended by the Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi.

Mubarak and Qaddafi will be holding talks with Sudanese President Omar Bashir and Silva Kiir, president of the semi-autonomous government of Southern Sudan.

According to Egyptian officials, the objective of the visit is for the leaders of Egypt and Libya to emphasize to both Bashir and Kiir their support through the imminent referendum and beyond, regardless of its outcome.

Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul-Gheitsaid that during the summit, both leaders will underline the need for cooperation between the north and south along the lines of their joint interests.

The Arab League's Sudan Desk Director, Ambassador Samir Hosni, welcomed the visit of both leaders saying it helped to assure the Sudanese leaders that they would receive assistance from Arab countries in the wake of next month's vote.

Hosni added that the Arab League Secretary General is planning to visit the north and south of Sudan.

The League is sending 80 observers to monitor the January 9 referendum that will see southern Sudanese vote on independence from the north, with secession the expected result.

The referendum is mandated under a 2005 peace accord between the north and the south that ended more than 20 years of civil war. It was the second drawn out conflict between the two since Sudan's independence from Anglo-Egyptian rule in 1956.