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Sudan Tribune

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Sudan to close embassy in Baghdad – official

Dec 30, 2005 (CAIRO) — Sudan said on Friday it would shut its embassy in Baghdad, a day after al Qaeda in Iraq said it had kidnapped five Sudanese embassy staff last week and demanded that Khartoum cut its ties with Baghdad within 48 hours.

“Sudan has decided to close its diplomatic mission in Iraq and to withdraw its diplomatic staff,” Jamal Ibrahim, the Sudanese foreign ministry’s spokesperson, told Reuters by telephone. He had no further comment.

Al Qaeda in Iraq said on Thursday it was behind the abduction of the Sudanese embassy staff, including a diplomat, according to a Web statement.

A video posted with the statement showed five men identifying themselves as embassy staff.

“I call on the Sudanese government to carry out the demand … to withdraw the diplomatic mission,” said a man who identified himself as Abdul-Munem Mohammed al-Houri, the embassy’s second secretary.

The Sudanese foreign ministry said last Friday that six Sudanese men, including the embassy’s second secretary, had been kidnapped in Baghdad after attending Muslim prayers.

The al Qaeda in Iraq group said in the Web statement it gave “the Sudanese government 48 hours to announce in a clear way … that it was severing relations with the (Iraqi) government and closing its embassy in Baghdad”.

The statement could not be authenticated, but was posted on a main Web site frequently used by Iraqi insurgent groups.

Insurgents have often kidnapped foreigners to put pressure on their governments to break ties with Baghdad. Some foreigners have been abducted by groups seeking ransom.

(Reuters)