A prominent member of Sudan?s ruling National Congress Party (NCP) says neighboring Egypt will be hosting and mediating talks between his party and the Sudan People?s Liberation Movement (SPLM) in Cairo Monday.
Rabie Abdelati Obeid said Egypt has expressed the interest in working with both parties to ?make unity? attractive to both parties ahead of the semi-autonomous south Sudan?s 9th January referendum.
?This meeting will discuss the issue of unity between the two parts of the country, south and north, and to ensure that both partners will work together to achieve unity and to realize the results of unity (ahead of the) upcoming referendum, which will be carried out at the beginning of the year 2011,? Obeid said.
He also said that Egypt will benefit from Sudan?s unity as a ?united Sudan will guarantee the security of Egypt.?
Analysts say Egypt has a vested interest in ensuring that controversial issues surrounding the sharing of natural resources, including the Nile River, are resolved before the scheduled referendum.
Critics say Egypt might not be an impartial mediator in Monday?s negotiations since the possible secession of the semi-autonomous south could affect the country?s economy.
Residents in south Sudan will determine in a referendum scheduled for 9th January whether to be part of the original Sudan or secede and become an independent country.
The referendum is part of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that ended over two decades of war between President Bashir?s government and the SPLM.