June 20, 2010 (KHARTOUM) — The spokesperson for the Egyptian Foreign Ministry Hussam Zaki revealed today that his government formally requested "clarification" from Khartoum regarding statement by the newly appointed foreign minister Ali Karti.
- pokesperson for the Egyptian Foreign Ministry Hussam Zaki
Karti was sworn in this week as the new foreign minister in the new government following the elections concluded last April. At a press conference later the Sudanese top diplomat criticized the Egyptian government describing their engagement in the issues in Sudan as "weak".
"The Egyptian role in the issues of the country is weak", adding that the Egyptian elite’s knowledge of the situation and complexities in Sudan is shallow.
"Sudan is the strategic backyard of Egypt" Karti said.
Egyptian media quoted Zaki as saying that Egypt supported Sudan politically and was keen on achieving reconciliation between various Sudanese political forces.
"Our special relations with Sudan stem from our common strategic interests," Zaki said, asserting that officials in both countries were aware of the depth and strength of the relationship.
Zaki said that Egyptian foreign minister Ahmed Aboul-Gheit asked their ambassador in Khartoum to get an explanation from the government on the purpose behind Karti’s remarks.
A senior unnamed Sudanese official told the London based Al-Hayat newspaper that Karti’s remarks were "misunderstood".
Relations between Egypt and Sudan witnessed a silent crisis over hosting the leader of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) Khalil Ibrahim last month. JEM is one of the main rebel groups fighting in Darfur against the Sudanese government.
Cairo at the time said it wants to have dialogue with all parties to the conflict in Sudan to help reconciliation.
Both countries are siding together against other Nile basin countries who are seeking reallocation of the water shares spelled out in the 1929 agreement brokered on one side by British colonial powers in Africa making Egypt entitled to the lion’s share of the Nile’s total flow of around 84 billion cubic meters.