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Egypt, Sudan agree on measures to restore relations

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Egyptian Foreign Minister, Sameh Shoukry and Sudanese counterpart Ibrahim Ghandour speak to the media in Khartoum on 20 April 2017 (ST Photo)
February 9, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan and Egypt have agreed on a package of measures to be implemented over the next few months to addressing outstanding issues and restore confidence between the two neighbouring countries.

The foreign ministers of the two countries, Ibrahim Ghandour and Sameh Shoukry held a meeting on Sunday in Cairo with the participation of the head of intelligence services Abbas Kamel of Egypt and Sudan’s Mohamed Atta to discuss tensions between the two countries after Khartoum’s decision to recall its ambassador on 5 January.

The government-controlled media in Egypt carried out an unprecedented hostile media campaign against Sudan and its president Omer al-Bashir after a visit to Sudan of the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Also, in January Sudan accused Egypt and Eritrea of backing armed opposition groups.

In a joint statement issued after the tripartite meeting, the two countries announced a number of technical decisions to restore bilateral relations including the ban of hostile media campaigns and to enhance security and military cooperation between the two countries.

On the dispute over the Nile water, the statement referred to the commitment of both sides to the 1959 bilateral agreement and tripartite declaration of principle on the resolution of the dispute over the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam in signed in Khartoum on 23 March 2015.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Shoukry said the meeting contributed to remove misunderstandings and to develop a roadmap to restore the relationship in line with the aspirations and guidance of the two countries’ leaders.

He called on the Egyptian and Sudanese media to be objective and not to offend the peoples and leaders of the two countries.

For his part, Ghandour announced that the meeting set up a mechanism to solve on the outstanding issues, also he said the media in the two countries has to observe the sanctity of relations between the two countries in the future.

When asked about an agreement to establish a Turkish naval base in Suakin on the Red Sea Ghandour said there were no foreigners in the small town pointing there are 400 houses inhabited by Sudanese nationals.

Also, "there was no talk about a Turkish military base in the city or elsewhere in any place in Sudan, but the Turkish President offered to restore and rebuild old houses and to use (Suakin) as a tourist island for mutual benefit," he disclosed.

on the Ethiopian dam, Ghandour said it was agreed to hold a meeting including nine ministers of Irrigation, foreign affairs and intelligence from the three countries in Khartoum next March.

Cairo meeting was decided last month after an encounter between President Omer al-Bashir and Abdel al-Fattah al-Sisi in Addis Ababa on 28 January.

Observers say the bilateral relations are undermined by the mistrust between the two government as Cairo believes that Khartoum supports the Egyptian Islamists overthrown by al-Sisi in 2013.

This lack of confidence complicates the solution of the dispute over border triangle of Halayeb and also pushed Sudan to foster its strategic alliance with Ethiopia.

(ST)

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