Sudan offers to mediate Egypt-Algeria soccer row
KHARTOUM Nov 26 (Reuters) - Sudan has offered to mediate between Algeria and Egypt in a furious row over soccer violence during their qualification battle for next year's World Cup, a presidential adviser said on Thursday.
Algeria won the deciding match in Khartoum last week to take Africa's last place at the World Cup finals in South Africa, qualifying for the first time in 24 years.
But the host country was dragged into the conflict as Egyptian media implied Sudan had neglected to protect its nationals in Khartoum. Cairo also recalled its ambassador to Algiers after the three qualification matches.
Sudanese Presidential Adviser Mustafa Osman Ismail outlined a three-stage plan to end the row, including establishing financial losses caused by the violence.
"Stage one is cooling the media, two is the presentation of the losses of both sides and three is to settle these losses and bring the situation back to normal between the two countries," he told Reuters.
Soccer's governing body FIFA began an investigation after Egyptian fans stoned Algeria's national team on arrival for the Cairo leg, hurting three players. Scuffles after that match injured 20 Algerians.
In response Algerians stoned some buses full of Egyptian fans in Khartoum, causing about 20 minor injuries, Egypt's health ministry said. However, Sudan's hospitals reported no injuries or deaths after the match.
Press from both nations have reported stories of murder and attacks. These led to violence in both capitals with 32 demonstrators injured in clashes with police outside Algeria's Cairo embassy, and millions of dollars' of damage inflicted on ransacked Egyptian businesses in Algiers.
The Egyptian media reports of violence in Sudan also angered close ally Khartoum which summoned Cairo's ambassador to protest.
Ismail said Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit had agreed to end the media battle but was concerned about the major losses suffered by Egyptian business.
Algeria had agreed to the mediation terms but he said he was awaiting Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's response after a visit by Abou Gheit and intelligence chief Omar Suleiman this week.
Ismail, a former foreign minister, has previously mediated pan-Arab problems, including forming Iraq's parliament.
Libyan state media reported on Tuesday that the country's leader Muammar Gaddafi had accepted an Arab League request to calm tension between Egypt and Algeria. [ID:nGEE5AN1WC] (Reporting by Opheera McDoom; editing by David Stamp) ((Khartoum newsroom; +249 912 167 378; firstname.lastname@example.org))
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