Bashir says border dispute with Egypt to be resolved through dialogue
The Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir today affirmed his government’s willingness to resolve the border dispute with neighbouring Egypt through dialogue.
Speaking to reporters on his way home from China, Bashir said that government of deposed president Hosni Mubarak took over Halayeb region when Sudan was fighting a civil war with the South.
Bashir added that given these circumstances Sudan favored not to open a new front and sought to settle the dispute through consultation with Cairo. He said that they are waiting for a new government in Egypt to discuss this issue.
The Halayeb triangle that overlooks the Red Sea has been contentious issue between the two countries as early as 1958, shortly after Sudan gained independence from British-Egyptian rule.
The area has been under Cairo’s control since the mid-1990’s after a Sudanese backed attempt on former Egyptian president Mohamed Hosni Mubarak’s life.
Sudan has avoided registering voters inside Halayeb for the elections which took place last year despite earlier assertions that the region was included as a constituency.
But the issue of Halayeb flared up in July of last year when President Al-Bashir made a surprising assertion that “Halayeb is Sudanese and will stay Sudanese” while addressing a rally of his supporters at the coastal town of Port Sudan.
Egypt at the time dismissed the remarks stressing that its Southern borders “are well known at latitude 22°”.
Bashir has rarely brought up the issue publicly in order to avoid angering his Northern neighbour which has been one of his main backers.