Sudanese Minister Accuses Eritrea of Involvement in Darfur Incidents, 04/30/03

Sudanese minister accuses Eritrea of involvement in Darfur incidents

KHARTOUM, April 29 (AFP) -- Sudan's foreign minister accused Eritrea Tuesday of involvement in the recent violent incidents in Al-Fasher, capital of west Sudan's North Darfur State.

On Friday, the Sudan Liberation Army said Friday it had seized al-Fasher, but Khartoum rejected the claim, saying its forces had beaten back a rebel attack.

Foreign Minister Mustafa Ismail, speaking to reporters Tuesday, blamed Eritrea and the Sudanese opposition National Democratic Alliance for the incidents.

"It is certain that some of the leaders of the operation have been trained in Eritrea and for this reason it (Eritrea) is involved," said Ismail.

"The (National Democratic) Alliance is the cause of the Sudanese disasters and it is the one that has paved the way for foreign interference and has provided support to outlaws," said the foreign minister.

He advised his government to find a political solution to the situation in Darfur and to be "vigilant and cautious in discharging its duty of maintaining security, especially as the Sudan shares borders with countries that create problems to the country."

Until now, Khartoum has refused to acknowledge any political motivation for unrest in the Darfur states, blaming it instead on "armed criminal gangs and outlaws," who it says are aided by tribes from neighboring Chad.

The SLA is not included in the framework of peace talks aimed at ending Khartoum's 20-year-old civil war with the Sudan People's Liberation Army. It has never acknowledged any link with the SPLA, but called in mid-March for an "understanding" with other opposition forces in Sudan.

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