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Eritrea Says Sudan Requests Help In Resolving East Sudan Insurgency

Eritrea says the Sudanese government has asked it to host talks aimed at ending a rebellion in East Sudan.

An article on Eritrea's Information Ministry website cites an official, Abdella Jabir, as saying Eritrea is prepared to host the talks at the earliest possible date.

The official, from Eritrea's ruling PFDJ party, says the Sudanese government and the East Sudan Front rebels will meet and try to sort out what he called technical issues so the talks can begin.

There was no immediate comment on the report from Sudanese officials or the East Sudan rebels.

The US-based International Crisis Group has warned that the low-level conflict in East Sudan could escalate into a full-blown war. Residents of the region accuse the government in Khartoum of neglecting their area, which remains poor and underdeveloped.

Eritrea says Sudanese officials made their request for the talks at a meeting with visiting Eritrean officials in Khartoum last week.

The announcement could signal a further warming of relations between Eritrea and Sudan. The countries have moved toward restoring diplomatic ties that were cut in 2002, after Sudan accused Eritrea of supporting the eastern rebels.

The rebels have held a small piece of territory near the border with Eritrea since the late 1990s.