April 9, 2013 (KHARTOUM) – The assistant to Sudan’s president Musa Mohamed Ahmed said today that there should not be any misgivings on the status of the “occupied” triangle of Halayeb on the borders with Egypt.
- An aerial view of Halayeb Triangle on Egypt-Sudan borders (Google Earth)
Speaking to reporters at a press conference, Ahmed emphasised that Sudan should be handed to future generations with Halayeb included and disclosed that the Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi promised during his recent visit to Sudan to restore the situation in Halayeb to its pre-1995 status.
"The Sudanese government is committed to its unequivocal stance on this issue which pertains to the national sovereignty," the official said.
"Halayeb is Sudanese and will remain Sudanese and this is To Whom It May Concern" Ahmed said in a decisive tone.
The Egyptian army seized control of Halayeb region, an area of land measuring 20,580 square km in the border areas of the Red Sea coast, after relations between the two neighbors plummeted due to the 1995’s failed attempt by Islamists allegedly backed by Sudan to assassinate the then Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak in Addis Ababa.
The genesis of the disputes over Halayeb dates back to as early as 1958 after Sudan gained independence from being ruled jointly by Britain and Egypt. The wrangle is a result of a discrepancy in the demarcation of political boundaries set by the Anglo-Egyptian Condominium and the ones set earlier by the British in 1902.
Cairo has routinely dismissed Khartoum’s demands that the issue be resolved through international arbitration.
Since the 1989 coup that brought president Omer Hassan al-Bashir to power, Sudanese officials have avoided raising the issue in public for fears of angering their Egyptian counterparts and to avoid alienating a key regional player.
Ahmed, who also chairs the Beja Congress, emphasised that the desired integration between Sudan and Egypt cannot be achieved on the ground as long as the conflict exists in Halayeb.
This week Ihab Fahmy, a spokesperson for the Egyptian presidency, dismissed claims by the presidential assistant on Morsi’s promises.
“Halayeb and Shalateen are Egyptian, and President Morsy did not promise, during his visit to Sudan, to return the triangle of Halayeb and Shalateen to Khartoum as it was before 1995" he was quoted as saying by Cairo-based Al-Masry Al-Youm.