May 25, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The Egyptian minister of commerce, industry and investments, Munir Fakhri Abdel-Nur, has announced that land crossings with Sudan will be opened over the next few days to facilitate the flow of trade between the two countries, as well as central Africa and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA).
- Egyptian minister of Trade, Investment and Industry Munir Fakhri Abdel-Nur
According to Egyptian news agency (MENA), Abdel-Nur made the revelation at the opening ceremony of the workshop organised by the trade agreement sector at his ministry and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on trade facilitation through the development of ports and border crossings management.
This comes within the framework of the aid for trade for the Arab States which includes Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan , Sudan and Iraq .
The minister underscored the importance of strengthening the performance of trade and transport corridors between Arab countries to increase the flow of goods and people across borders and to help achieve regional economic integration.
He also stressed the need to eliminate current obstacles and challenges that hampers the development of inter-Arab trade, which Abdel-Nur said accounts for only 10% of the total regional trade.
Observers say that the inauguration of border crossings is held up by disagreements over the Halayeb region which both countries claim.
The Egyptian army seized control of the contested region, an area of land measuring 20,580 square kilometres, in the border areas of the Red Sea coast, after relations between the two neighbours soured due to 1995’s failed attempt by Islamists allegedly backed by Sudan to assassinate the then Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak in Addis Ababa.
Cairo has routinely dismissed Khartoum’s demands that the issue be resolved through international arbitration.