Sudan, Egypt Pledge Close Cooperation, 04/30/03

Sudan, Egypt pledge close cooperation

KHARTOUM, April 30 (AFP) -- The presidents of Sudan and Egypt pledged at a meeting here Wednesday to strengthen ties of cooperation in all fields.

Speaking at the outset of the meeting, Egypt's Hosni Mubarak said his country "is determined to cement the ties of joint cooperation between the peoples of the Nile Valley."

Mubarak, who arrived earlier in the day for a visit of several hours, stressed that "substantial steps" should be taken "on the ground" in cooperation between Cairo and Khartoum.

He underlined that Egypt "has always stood for achievement of peace and for maintenance of the territorial integrity of Sudan," adding that the United States and his country "agree on the need for safeguarding the territorial unity of Sudan."

Sudanese President Omar el-Beshir stressed the importance of achieving peace in Sudan and underlined the importance of an Egyptian role in reaching that goal.

"Let me reassure the peoples of the two countries that the situation in Sudan is stable despite instances of insecurity that occur here and there," he said.

Egyptian Information Minister Safwat al-Sherif told a press conference after the summit "the two sides have agreed on the need for reactivating political and economic integration institutions."

Economic cooperation between Sudan and Egypt "will be a nucleus for an Arab common market," Sherif said.

The minister said a committee from the Egyptian People's Council and another from the Sudanese National Assembly would coordinate legislative activities "pending the establishment of the long-proposed Nile Valley Parliament."

He said Mubarak has ordered the return to Sudan of the Egyptian education mission, which left the country in the early 1990s when the Sudanese government annexed the Egyptian schools and the Khartoum branch of the Cairo University.

Sudanese Agriculture Minister Majzoub al-Khalifa Ahmed, who head the Sudanese side in the joint ministerial committee, said at the press conference that integration "should be felt by the peoples of the two countries."

This integration should cover projects in sugar, cereals and industry, as well as cooperation between the banks from the two countries.

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