FILE-  Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi (L) meets with Sudanese counterpart Omar al-Bashir (R) in Addis Ababa on January 27, 2018- press photo FILE- Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi (L) meets with Sudanese counterpart Omar al-Bashir (R) in Addis Ababa on January 27, 2018- press photo

Sisi, Bashir to discuss bilateral issues in Cairo Monday

Sun, Mar. 18, 2018
CAIRO – 18 March 2018: President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi will receive Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir in Cairo on Monday in order to discuss the outstanding issues between the two countries based on the agreement reached at the recent Addis Ababa Summit.

The one-day visit will also focus on tackling cooperation across various fields, as well as issues of joint interest, said Egyptian Presidency spokesperson Bassam Radi in a statement on Sunday.

According to the Egyptian state news agency MENA, at the beginning of March, Egyptian Acting Director of General Intelligence Service (GIS) Abbas Kamel met with Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir to discuss the importance of maintaining communication between countries.

Kamel’s visit to Khartoum came within the framework of efforts exerted by a joint quartet committee formed according to a decision made by Bashir and Sisi during the latest African Union Summit.

On February 8, Egypt hosted the quartet meeting to discuss the recent differences in bilateral relations, according to a statement released on Sunday by Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ahmed Abu Zeid.

The meeting will be held this month upon a call from President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi after a closed session held with his Sudanese counterpart, Bashir, on the sidelines of the 30th African Summit in Addis Ababa, the statement added.

Egyptian relations with Sudan were recently strained over the disputed border area of Halaib and Shalateen. On December 23, 2017, Sudan filed a complaint to the United Nations Secretariat to protest a maritime border demarcation deal between Egypt and Saudi Arabia, as the deal denotes the territory as Egyptian on maps.

Halaib and Shalateen, or the Halaib Triangle, is an area of land measuring 20,580 square kilometers, located at the Egyptian-Sudanese border on the Red Sea coast. It is part of the Red Sea governorate and consists of three major towns – Halaib (which became a city in February 2014), Abu Ramad and Shalateen.

The area belongs to Egypt politically and administratively, but has been one of the major sticking points in Egyptian-Sudanese relations since the demarcation of borders between the two countries were carried out during the British occupation of Egypt in 1899, at a time when Sudan was part of the Egyptian Kingdom.

The issue re-emerged after Halaib and Shalateen declared electoral constituency in both Sudan and Egypt in 2014.

On January 13, Russia Today reported that the Sudanese Ambassador to Cairo Abdel Mahmoud Abdel Halim, who was withdrawn from Egypt for consultation, told Sudanese reporters that Khartoum “has taken tougher steps against Cairo and new development will take place in the coming few days and will be more violent.”

An Egyptian government official stated, “We are at the beginning of our diplomatic process, which starts with summoning the ambassador for consultation and then withdrawing the ambassador…and third, dismissing the ambassador of the concerned country. Fourth, boycotting the diplomatic ties and fifth, declaring war.”

Recently, the BBC reported that Ibrahim Mahmoud, the assistant to the Sudanese President, said that Sudan “faces (potential) military threats” from Egypt and Eritrea after claiming that there have been “military moves from Cairo and Asmara along the Sudanese eastern borders.” However, Eritrea has totally denied allegations regarding Egyptian military moves, saying such remarks are “groundless.”

In a phone call to Sabahak Masry talk show on MBC channel on Monday, Egyptian Ambassador to Eritrea, Yasser Hashem, stated that Egypt has no military bases in Eritrea or any other country.

However, after the meeting between Sisi and Bashir, the Egyptian Foreign Minister said that the Sudanese ambassador will return back to Cairo to resume his job soon.

The relations between both countries are strained over the controversial Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. Sudanese media claimed that Egypt has sought to exclude Sudan from the tripartite talks with Ethiopia. On January 8, Foreign Minister Shoukry stressed that Egypt did not ask Ethiopia to exclude Sudan from the negotiations.

Egypt has voiced its concern over Ethiopia’s dam construction, as it would affect Egypt’s 55 billion cubic meter share of the Nile water. However, Addis Ababa says the dam is necessary for its development and would not negatively affect the downstream countries (Egypt and Sudan).
 
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