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Sudan Vows Military Retaliation Against Eritrea - 2002-10-05

Sudan says it will retaliate militarily against neighboring Eritrea for allegedly aiding rebels to attack eastern Sudan.

Sudanese Foreign Minister Mustafa Ismail told reporters in Khartoum Saturday that his country will respond to the Eritrean aggression politically, diplomatically and militarily.

He also said his government will file a complaint with the United Nations, the European Union and the Arab League.

Sudan accused the Eritrean government Friday of participating militarily in a rebel offensive in the eastern Sudan.

The government said the intensive use of heavy weapons, including tanks and artillery, proves that the aggression is entirely Eritrean because the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA), does not have such weapons.

Eritrea has denied any involvement in the rebel attack.

This comes as the Sudanese government says it has agreed to return to peace talks with SPLA. The government pulled out of the talks in the Kenyan town of Machakos last month, protesting the rebels' capture of a key government garrison town in southeast.

The renewed talks, brokered by the regional Inter-Governmental Authority on Development or IGAD, are expected to thrash out the details of an agreement reached in July between the two sides aimed at ending the 19-year-old civil war.

Under the accord, the mainly Christian and animist south will enjoy six years of self-rule, before deciding in a referendum whether it wants to secede from the rest of the country, traditionally dominated by the mostly Muslim and Arab north.

The war in Sudan has killed an estimated two million people since it began in 1983.