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Tuesday, 18 September, 2001, 12:54 GMT 13:54 UK
Sudan 'safe from US attack'
El-Shifa pharmecutical factory
The el-Shifa factory was destroyed in 1998
Sudan's Vice President has said that his country is not at risk from attack by the US.

Osama Bin Laden, held responsible in the US for last week's terrorist strikes, used to be based in Sudan.


With each passing day and no Sudanese is apprehended, these worries are getting less and less

The BBC's Alfred Taban
In 1998 a pharmecutical factory in Khartoum was destroyed by US missiles following the blowing up of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

But Bin Laden is now thought to be in Afghanistan and the Sudanese authorities say he has taken all his supporters with him.

Improve ties

Vice President Ali Osman Taha said: "We have nothing to fear and there is no organisation in Sudan, whether official or otherwise, that is connected with what happened in the US."

He was also quoted as welcoming a speech in which President Bush said that the US would not react indiscriminately to the terrorist attacks.

Vice President Ali Osman Taha
Taha has nothing to fear

Correspondents say that President Omar al-Beshir has tried to improve ties with the west since his 1999 split with Islamist idealogue, Hassan al-Turabi.

Earlier this month President George W Bush named a special envoy, John Danforth, whose job would be to try and end Sudan's 18 year civil war.

But the BBC's Alfred Taban in Khartoum says that some people there are still worried about possible US strikes.

Sanctuary

He says that some fear that the US will punish Sudan for once providing sanctuary to their most wanted man.

"But with each passing day and no Sudanese is apprehended, these worries are getting less and less," he said.

Our correspondent says that some people believe that members of Bin Laden's al-Qaeda network may still be in Sudan.

Osama Bin Laden
Bin Laden still has $5m of investments in Sudan

But he says that no-one has provided any proof to the contrary.

The US always maintained that the el-Shifa factory had been used for manufacturing chemical weapons.

But many diplomats and analysts believed that US had made a mistake.

Bin Laden left Sudan in 1996 but still has investments worth $5m.

He built a 300 kilometre road from Khartoum to Haiya and an airport in Port Sudan.

See also:

07 Sep 01 | Africa
US seeks 'sanity' in Sudan
21 Apr 01 | From Our Own Correspondent
Oil and Sudan's civil war
29 May 01 | Middle East
Timeline: Sudan
27 May 01 | Africa
Powell promises Sudan aid
22 Mar 01 | Americas
'Bin Laden associate held in secret'
27 Apr 01 | Africa
Sudan hijackers face trial
21 Dec 00 | Country profiles
Country profile: Sudan
05 Jun 01 | Africa
Sudan government talk peace
06 Sep 01 | Africa
US names Sudan peace envoy
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