Egypt, Sudan and Libya to confer ahead of key Khartoum vote

KHARTOUM, Sudan — Leaders of Sudan's two most powerful neighbors will be meeting with the president in Khartoum Tuesday to discuss the future of the country ahead of a referendum that could well split Africa's largest nation in two.
The meeting comes less than three weeks before the people of south Sudan vote in a Jan. 9 referendum on the secession of their mainly animist and Christian south from the Arab and mainly Muslim north. The southerners, embittered and scarred by nearly four decades of war with the north, are most likely to vote for secession.
News of the summit, which would bring together Sudan's Omar al-Bashir, Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, has been circulating for days in the Arab media but was only confirmed late Sunday by the official Sudan News Agency.
The referendum is required under a 2005 peace accord between the north and the south that ended more than 20 years of civil war. It was the second bout of conflict between the two since independence from Anglo-Egyptian rule in 1955.