Officials seek an end to diplomatic tiff

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The Independent Online
BRITAIN and Sudan made clear they want to draw a line under the row which led to mutual expulsion of their ambassadors, write Richard Dowden and Andrew Brown.

Britain yesterday gave Sudan's ambassador two weeks to leave because of the 'wholly inadequate explanation' for Khartoum's expulsion last week of Britain's ambassador. Douglas Hurd, the Foreign Secretary, said in Jerusalem: 'I hope that is the end of diplomatic exchanges on this.'

A Sudanese spokesman reiterated claims that the breakdown in relations was caused by Peter Streams, the British envoy to Khartoum, and said Sudan would accept anyone else London appointed. He added that the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr George Carey, who sparked off the row by cancelling his trip to the capital, Khartoum, last week, was welcome to visit the city.

But Ali Osman Yassin, the expelled Sudanese ambassador, said the visit had a political aspect: 'Unfortunately, the Archbishop mixed politics with spiritual things.'

Yesterday Dr Carey said he had made the right decision: if he had gone from southern Sudan to be a government guest in the north, it would have been seen as a gesture of support for an administration that was persecuting Christians and Muslims alike.