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Sudan president accuses Egyptian media of 'provocation'

Sudan's president said Egyptian media seeking conflict [Getty]

Date of publication: 4 December, 2015

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Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has attacked the Egyptian media amid escalating tensions between Cairo and Khartoum.

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has criticised the Egyptian media's "provocative coverage" of the parliamentary elections in an area disputed between the two countries.

"The Egyptian media's coverage of the elections in Halayeb was provocative for the Sudanese people," Bashir told Sky News in an interview aired on Wednesday, adding that the Egyptian media "fuels conflicts and creates tensions".

"I had to take a stance in favour of my people," Bashir said, referring to a complaint filed by Sudan to the UN Security Council in November after Egypt held elections on the disputed territory of Halayeb.

On 21 November, Egypt wrapped up the second round of parliamentary elections, which had included the disputed territory in the first round of voting in October.

"I had to take a stance in favour of my people."

- Omar al-Bashir

"There are three ways to resolve the Halayeb conflict: either through mutual cooperation, international resolutions or mediation," Sudan's foreign minister Ibrahim Ghandour told the parliament at the time.

"Halayeb belongs to Sudan, and it always will," Ghandour added.

The Halayeb triangle, located on the border of Egypt and Sudan near the Red Sea, has long been a contentious subject between the two countries, after both countries claimed sovereignty over the area following Sudanese independence in 1956.

The land dispute is a result of the discrepancy in the demarcation of a political boundary set in 1899 by the Anglo-Egyptian Condominium and an administrative boundary set by Britain in 1902.

The Egyptian army seized control of Halayeb in 1995 after a failed attempt by Islamists, allegedly backed by Sudan, to assassinate ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Ethiopia.

Strained relations

Tensions between Egypt and Sudan have recently escalated, following a range of other disputes and complaints.

Last week, the Sudanese minister of water resources and electricity Moataz Moussa reassured Egypt that his country would not use the Nile's water against it.

"We are keen on showing restraint," the minister said in a statement at the time. "We will not resort to using water resources as a weapon."

Tensions between Egypt and Sudan have recently escalated, following a range of other disputes and complaints.

Moussa's statements came a week after Egypt's Prime Minister Sherif Ismail stated that Egypt still had concerns related to national security and the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.

Egypt had repeatedly expressed concerns that Ethiopia's $4.2 billion dam would negatively affect its share of Nile water resources.

The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, set to be completed in 2017, will be Africa's largest hydroelectric power plant, with a storage capacity of 74 billion cubic metres of water.

Last month, Egypt's foreign ministry criticised concerns expressed by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon over the recent killing of at least five Sudanese migrants attempting to cross into Israel from North Sinai.

The shooting came a week after 15 other Sudanese migrants were also shot dead on the same border.

Earlier in November, the Sudanese embassy in Cairo submitted a memo to the Egyptian foreign ministry inquiring about a recent surge in the abuse and mistreatment by security forces in Egypt.

Egypt has since pledged to investigate the allegations.

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