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December 20, 2010

Egypt, Libya Leaders Meet with Sudan's Bashir

The leaders of Libya and Egypt are meeting with Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir in Khartoum to discuss the future of his country.

Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak were to discuss the possible impact of southern Sudan's referendum on independence.

Officials say a press statement will be released after the meeting.

Both Egypt and Libya want to prevent any mass migration into their countries if war breaks out as a result of the referendum. The United Nations refugee agency estimates that more than a million people could be displaced.

Tensions between the mainly Muslim north and mostly Christian and animist south have been rising ahead of the vote -- with disputes about oil revenue, borders and other issues unresolved.

The referendum is a key part of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement that ended Sudan's 21-year north-south civil war.

Mr. Bashir has said his country will adopt an Islamic constitution and that Arabic will be the official language if the south votes for independence.