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The New Arab

Sudan's president 'will remain patient despite Egyptian occupation'

Khartoum says Halayeb has been part of its territory since after independence in 1956 [Getty]

Date of publication: 16 May, 2017

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Sudan's president Omar al-Bashir has said that he has remained patient with Egypt even though it has illegally occupied a disputed region near the Red Sea.

Sudan's president has said that he has remained patient with Egypt even though it has illegally occupied a disputed region near the Red Sea.

Omar al-Bashir said on Monday in an interview with Al Jazeera that he has been silent in the face of the occupation of the Halayeb triangle to honour the longstanding relationship with Egypt.

"We have done nothing or said anything wrong towards Egypt in spite the attack on our land and Egypt occupying parts of our territory," Bashir said.

The Islamist leader accused the Egyptian media of attempting to aggravate the tensions between Cairo and Khartoum, which have been on edge in recent months after Bashir accused Egypt of supporting Sudanese opposition figures fighting his troops.

"But we have been patient with them because we know that we have very important historic ties. Egypt has been targeted and we are also targeted... so a rift between us would only serve the interests of the enemies of the Arab nation," he added.

Egypt occupied the 25,000-square-kilometre mineral-rich border region in 1995, during a low point in relations between the two countries.

The Egyptian media has accused Khartoum of offering refuge to members of the Muslim Brotherhood movement, which was declared a "terrorist group" by Cairo following the ouster of Islamist president Mohammad Morsi in 2013.

However, the two countries have been engaged in high-level diplomatic initiatives to improve their relations, with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry visiting Khartoum last month for talks with his Sudanese counterpart Ibrahim Ghandour.

Ghandour told The New Arab at the time that Egyptian authorities have refused to solve the land dispute in an international court.

Egypt and Sudan agreed during the talks that neither side would harbour or support opposition groups fighting their respective governments.

Khartoum said recent regulations that made Egyptian men aged from 19 to 50 have to obtain visas prior to entering Sudan was a result of this policy.

Since 2004, Egyptians have enjoyed visa-free access to Sudan, but in April Sudanese authorities made it mandatory for adult Egyptian men to obtain visas before entering the country.

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