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The New Arab

Sudan's foreign minister cancels Egypt visit as tensions simmer

Khartoum has long said Egypt has been illegally occupying the Halayeb Triangle [Getty]

Date of publication: 30 May, 2017

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Sudan's foreign minister has cancelled a trip to Egypt as relations between the neighbouring countries have been fraught with tension over a long-running border dispute.
Sudan's foreign minister has cancelled a trip to Egypt as relations between the neighbouring countries have been fraught with tension over a long-running border dispute.

Ibrahim Ghandour announced on Sunday that his visit, which was scheduled to take place in Cairo on Wednesday, had been indefinitely postponed, local media reported.

"We told our brothers in Egypt that the visit had been postponed because of internal issues and it would take place later," Ghandour said in a statement.

Ghandour added that the trip had intended to improve political ties between Cairo and Khartoum following months of tensions.

He did not give further details about the domestic problems that triggered the trip to be shelved.

Last week, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir accused Egypt of supplying Darfur rebels with military equipment.

Bashir, who is wanted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court, also lamented that Egypt had not supported the Sudanese government's long-standing battle with rebels "even with one bullet".

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi quickly denied the accusation, saying that Cairo does not interfere in the affairs of other countries.

Tension has grown between the neighbouring North African countries, mainly fuelled by a border dispute over a patch of territory on the Red Sea coast known as the Halayeb Triangle.

Egypt occupied the 25,000-square-kilometre area in 1995, during a low point in relations between the two countries. Khartoum has long said Egypt has been illegally occupying the mineral-rich border region.

On Friday, Egypt launched air raids on terrorist camps in the eastern Libyan city of Derna, hours after masked gunmen attacked a bus carrying Coptic Christians south of Cairo, killing at least 29 people.

Sisi has said he will strike at militant bases wherever they might be if militants who trained there launch attacks inside Egypt.

Security officials have told AP that airstrikes against suspected militant training bases in Sudan could not be ruled out as the strained relations make it easier for Cairo to justify military action.

According to the officials, the military is closely monitoring the remote desert triangle where the borders of Egypt, Libya and Sudan meet in Egypt's remote southwest corner.

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