|Eritrea rejects charges of fuelling unrest in Sudan as fabrications |
NAIROBI, Aug 3, 04 (AFP) - Eritrea on Tuesday denied accusations by Khartoum that it is fuelling unrest in Sudan, including support for two rebel groups in the war-ravaged western Darfur region.
"We do not support any group in Sudan, indeed we are working to ensure that there is peace in that country, because it would equally benefit us," Information Minister Ali Abdu Ahmed told AFP by telephone from the Eritrean capital, Asmara.
On July 31, Sudan's envoy to Ethiopia and the African Union (AU), Osman Elsayed Fad Elsayed, claimed that Asmara was aggravating unrest in Darfur by training fighters of the rebel Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SLM/A) and Justice and Equality Movement (JEM).
Elsayed also claimed that Asmara was behind the AU-failed attempt to bring together Darfur rebels and the Sudan government to peace talks in Addis Ababa on July 15.
The rebels at that time refused to enter political dialogue with Khartoum until the government demilitarised Darfur and brought war criminals to book.
"Those are fabrications, they are statements of frustration meant to divert blame that has been heaped on the Sudan government that it has failed to rein in the Janjaweed militia," Ahmed said.
The rebellion in Darfur erupted in February 2003 when the SLM/A and JEM rebels started demanding an equal share of the nation's development, prompting a heavy-handed crackdown by the government and its allied Janjaweed militia.
The conflict has been described by the United Nations as the world's worst humanitarian crisis, where up to 50,000 people have died and around 1.2 million others displaced.
"Our position has been that Sudan's problems should be solved by the Sudanese themselves, and that there should be peace in the whole country, not only partially," Ahmed said.
"Peace in Sudan means stability in our whole region," he added.
Eritrea is one of the Inter-governmental Authority on Development member nations brokering peace between Khartoum and the southern Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) to end 21 years of civil war.