Diplomatic sources said virtually the entire Arab League has been
supporting the Khartoum regime in efforts to prevent seccession by southern
Sudan. In contrast, Israel has quietly supported efforts by the largely Christian South to
establish an independent state.
"Both sides are heavily involved," a diplomatic source said.
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The sources said Egypt and Saudi Arabia have become the biggest
supporters of the regime of Sudanese President Omar Bashir. They said Cairo
and Riyad have urged Bashir to stop secession efforts by the south, the
source of Sudan's energy resources.
In contrast, Israel has been quietly supporting the Christian
South. The sources said Israel has forged links with most of the southern
leadership and was prepared to expand trade with any state independent of
Khartoum. Khartoum has been designated as a leading backer of the Hamas
"Israel is likely to forge official diplomatic links with the south and
win the opening of the south Sudan market to Israeli business people,"
Israeli analyst Yisrael Gozanksy wrote in Israel's largest circulation
daily, Yisrael Hayom.