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Sudan’s Kiir holds Egypt talks

9/1/2005 3:46pm

Sep 1, 2005 (Cairo) — Sudan’s new first vice president, Salva Kiir, held talks Thursday with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, on his first visit abroad since succeeding the late John Garang.

"The talks focused on the situation in Sudan, including in the Darfur region, and the implementation of the peace deal between the former rebels and the government," the official MENA news agency reported.

Kiir, who is in Cairo for one day, also met Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif, intelligence chief Omar Suleiman and Arab League Secretary General Amr Mussa, officials said, without elaborating.

Kiir, who took office and became head of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) after Garang’s death in a helicopter crash, is seen as lacking the international contacts built up by his charismatic predecessor.

Egypt, which shares a lengthy desert border with Sudan, is a key regional player and is the base of many leaders of the umbrella Sudanese opposition grouping, the Northern Democratic Alliance (NDA).

Kiir’s visit comes on the heels of the first session of Sudan’s post-war parliament on Wednesday, as the country moves towards implementing a peace agreement that ended 21 years of north-south conflict.

While the January peace deal ended war in the south, conflict is still raging in Sudan’s western Darfur region, where some 300,000 people have been killed and 2.4 million displaced.

However, Garang’s death has raised doubts over the sustainability of even the north-south peace deal, which envisages a six-year period of transition leading up to a referendum on southern secession.

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