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DATE=12/23/1999 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=SUDAN / EGYPT (L-ONLY) NUMBER=2-257431 BYLINE=RICHARD ENGEL DATELINE=CAIRO CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: Egypt says it is restoring full diplomatic relations with neighboring Sudan, after nearly a decade of strained ties. Richard Engel reports from Cairo, the announcement (Thursday) came after Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak met with his Sudanese counterpart, Omar al-Bashir, in the Egyptian capital. TEXT: The Egyptian foreign ministry said in a communique that Egypt will return its ambassador to Khartoum. The announcement came after meetings between President Mubarak and President Bashir in Cairo. Mr. Bashir had not visited Egypt for the past six years. Relations between Egypt and Sudan worsened in 1989, after a military coup that installed Mr. Bashir in power. But ties went from bad to worse in 1995, when Egypt accused the Khartoum government of sponsoring an assassination attempt on President Mubarak's life. Egypt continues to accuse Sudan of harboring the terrorists responsible for the assassination attempt, and specifically blames the influential Sudanese politician and speaker of parliament, Hassan al- Turabi, for masterminding the attack. However, relations between Egypt and Sudan have been rapidly improving in recent weeks, following a power struggle between President Bashir and Mr. Tubabi. The political in-fighting in Sudan grew so intense that it prompted President Bashir to dissolve parliament on December 12th and declare a three-month state of emergency. Egypt and Libya have expressed public support for Mr. Bashir's action. And President Mubarak embarked on a tour earlier this month of the Gulf states, to lobby for support of his decision to stand behind Mr. Bashir. Analysts say Egypt fears a breakdown of order in Sudan could threaten its access to vital Nile River water. (Signed) NEB/RHE/GE/WTW 23-Dec-1999 13:20 PM EDT (23-Dec-1999 1820 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .

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