August 16, 2014 (CAIRO) – Egyptian authorities have prevented the opposition Sudanese Broad National Front (BNF) led by Ali Mahmoud Hassanein from holding its second general convention which was supposed to take place in Cairo on Saturday under the title of “unity of the opposition to overthrow the regime and not to engage in dialogue with it”.
Informed sources told Sudan Tribune that a senior security official had notified Hassanein over the phone, moments before the start of the sessions, that security services and official bodies didn’t approve of the convention which discusses ways for activating BNF’s activities in order to topple the Sudanese regime.
According to the sources, Egyptian authorities attributed the move to the unfavourable security situation in Cairo due to the anti-government protests which took place across Egypt in the anniversary of the crackdown on two protest camps in Raba’a and Nahda squares in Cairo last year.
But other sources predicted that the Egyptian authorities’ decision was driven by pressures exerted by the Sudanese government.
The BNF was established in London on 21 October 2010 and it includes several political entities, regional groupings, and individuals who believe in overthrowing the regime and reject in principle any kind of dialogue with it.
Hassanein, who is also the deputy chairman of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) led by Mohamed Osman al-Mirghani, founded and led the BNF after the latter joined the government in 2011.
He said in a proposal to unify opposition forces he presented last week that unity of the opposition is not a mere hope but an absolute necessity that “we are ready to sit, discuss, and agree with everybody about it”.
In the same context, the deputy information advisor at the Sudanese embassy in Cairo, Abdel-Rahman Ibrahim, said Egypt’s hosting of opposition meeting which calls for overthrowing the regime is not acceptable, pointing it is a sign of significant retreat in relations between the two countries.
He described in press statements on Saturday the timing of holding the meeting as “bad”, saying it coincides with intensive moves to develop ties between the two countries in the investment and economic fields besides opening of land crossings.
“We look forward to having positive and developing relations with Egypt and we hoped that the [recent] visit of president al-Sissi to Khartoum had foiled attempts [to sabotage ties between the two countries] ,” he added
Ibrahim further pointed out that the BNF convention sends negative signals to the peaceful dialogue which is currently being held in Khartoum, expressing hope that such events must not be allowed to take place particularly as relations between the two countries are witnessing positive developments.
Last June, the Egyptian president made a lightening visit to Sudan. He flew to Khartoum from Equatorial Guinea’s capital Malabo where attended the 23rd Ordinary African Union (AU) summit.
During his visit, al-Sissi invited president Omer Hassan al-Bashir to visit Cairo.
Relations between the two countries deteriorated over the last year due to Sudan’s support of Ethiopia’s Grand Renaissance Dam which Egypt believes will infringe on it historic rights in the Nile water per colonial agreements of 1929 and 1959.
Khartoum is also accused by Egyptian media of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood movement which has been pushed off Egypt’s political scene after the toppling of president Mohamed Morsi last year by then army chief al-Sisi in response to mass anti-Morsi demonstrations in the country.
The Islamist government in Sudan has appeared uncomfortable with the ouster of Morsi given the common ideology they shared with him and the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) which brought him to power.
Unlike most Arab leaders, the Sudanese president did not congratulate interim Egyptian president Adli Mansour on his new role.