and Sudan pledge to help Somalia
form broad-based central government
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia - Ethiopia and Sudan on Thursday pledged
to work for national reconciliation in Somalia and to help
with the establishment of a broad-based central government
in the troubled Horn of Africa nation.
statement at the end of a three-day visit by Sudan's first
vice president Ali Osman Taha said he and his delegation had
held extensive discussions with Deputy Prime Minister Adisu
Legesse on ways to achieve durable peace in the region.
backs a coalition of Somali warlords and faction leaders opposed
to the national transitional government of President Abdiqassim
Salad Hassan, who was chosen at a peace conference in neighboring
Djibouti in August 2000. His government has little influence
outside the capital, Mogadishu.
1996 and 1997, Ethiopia sent troops to Somalia to crush Islamic
fundamentalist forces there that Ethiopia accused of staging
attacks on its territory.
has not had a central government since clan-based political
factions ousted President Mohamed Siad Barre in January 1991,
then turned on each other.
aimed at resolving the differences between Abdiqassim's government
and the Somali Reconcilation and Restoration Council were
to have taken place in Nairobi, Kenya this month, but so far
no date has been set.
an icy period in relations during the mid-1990s, Ethiopia
and Sudan have drawn closer since Ethiopia and Eritrea fought
a 2 1/2-year war over their common border. Eritea hosts members
of the National Democratic Alliance, which includes southern
Sudanese rebels opposed to the government in Khartoum.
statement also said Sudan and Ethiopia have agreed to consider
joint water resource development projects.
is the source of the Blue Nile, which joins the White Nile
in Sudan to form the longest river in the world that flows
through the entire length of Egypt to the Mediterranean Sea.
is estimated that the Blue Nile accounts for more than 80
percent of the river's volume, although Egypt is the major
user of the river.
of domestic turmoil from 1974 to the mid-1990s and also because
of lack of investment capital, Ethiopia has not undertaken
any major river-development projects.
has recently become an oil exporter, and production output
next year is estimated at 290,000 barrels a day or higher.