Egypt stepped back from its confrontation with Sudan on Saturday, ruling out any attack on its southern neighbor even if Sudan had a hand in the attempt on President Hosni Mubarak’s life.
Remarks by Egypt’s foreign minister and a top adviser to Mubarak dispelled growing threats that the two Arab countries had traded over the past week.
Ethiopian Radio reported Saturday that Ethiopian security forces killed three men suspected of involvement in the assassination attempt Monday as Mubarak traveled to an African summit in Addis Ababa. The report did not identify the men by nationality.
Mubarak accused Sudan of orchestrating the attempt on his life, setting off a war of words between the two countries that escalated into clashes in a disputed border area that left three Sudanese soldiers dead.
With uncharacteristic bombast, Mubarak claimed he could overthrow Sudan’s Islamic regime in days, and Sudanese leaders warned they would turn the disputed Halaib area into a graveyard for Egyptians.
But remarks by a top adviser to Mubarak on Saturday appeared intended to dispel the growing threat between the neighbors - though they did little to soften the rhetoric.
Osama el-Baz, Mubarak’s chief political adviser, told Egyptian television that Egypt “would not carry out any military operations against Sudan even if there were some official or semi-official factions involved in the failed attempt on President Mubarak.”
Once an investigation identifies the assailants, Egypt’s reaction will be “calculated, rational, and strong.” But he ruled out any “military adventure” because Egypt does not want to hurt the “brotherly Sudanese people.”
Egyptian investigators who traveled to Ethiopia say 13 people, including three Ethiopian security men, were involved in the plot. Late Saturday, Egypt’s news agency, citing Ethiopian television, reported that three suspects were killed by police in a shootout in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital.
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