February 5, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - Sudanese President Omer al-Bashir said his government has repeatedly asked Egypt to not support the Sudanese opposition denying that Khartoum is hosting any leaders from the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood.
- Egyptian president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (R) meets with Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir in Cairo on 18 October 2014 (Photo: Reuters)
During an interview with the Dubai-based Al Arabiya TV on Sunday, al-Bashir described his personal relationship with the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi as “very distinct”.
“However that doesn’t preclude the presence of outstanding issues [between the two countries],” he said.
He pointed that their problem is not with President al-Sisi but rather the regime, stressing the “Egyptian intelligence is offering support to Sudanese opponents”.
However, President Bashir didn’t identify the opposition groups supported by Cairo or develop his claims.
Al-Bashir went further to say that his government has repeatedly demanded Cairo to stop supporting the Sudanese opposition, denying that Khartoum is hosting leaders from the Muslim Brotherhood.
“We didn’t host any Brotherhood leaders in Sudan because our policy is against harboring any hostile activities against any country,” he said.
Relations between Sudan and Egypt have been frosty over the past few years, but they’ve recently begun to thaw thanks to a series of conciliatory diplomatic gestures.
In October 2014, presidents of the two countries upgraded representation in a joint committee aimed at strengthening bilateral ties.
DISPUTE OVER HALAYEB
Meanwhile, al-Bashir said Sudan will resort to the United Nations Security Council if Egypt refuses to negotiate over Halayeb area.
The Halayeb triangle, which is a 20,580 km area on the Red Sea, has been a contentious issue between Egypt and Sudan since 1958, shortly after Sudan gained its independence from the British-Egyptian rule in January1956.
The area has been under Cairo’s full military control since the mid-1990’s following a Sudanese-backed attempt to kill the former Egyptian President Mohamed Hosni Mubarak.
Al-Bashir underlined that “Halayeb triangle would remain a Sudanese territory”, saying the area was part of the electoral constituencies during the first Sudanese elections in 1954.
In April 2016, Cairo refused a demand by the Sudanese government to hold direct talks on Halayeb and Shalateen or to accept the referral of the dispute to the International Court of Arbitration.
Egypt has used to reject Sudan’s repeated calls for referring the dispute to international arbitration.
The international law provides that the agreement of the two parties is needed to arbitrate a dispute by the tribunal.
Also, the Egyptian authorities have imposed restrictions on the entry of Sudanese nationals into the area.
Sudanese government continued to annually renew a complaint lodged to the UN Security Council over Halayeb.
SITUATION IN LIBYA
Meanwhile, al-Bashir said Sudan recognizes the government of national concord in Libya headed by Faiz al-Sarraj as the legitimate government.
“Any vacuum in Libya will [adversely] impact on the whole region, therefore Khartoum supports the resolution of the Libyan issue away from the conflict” he said
He denied that Khartoum is has provided arms to the warring parties in Libya after the fall of President Muammar Gaddafi.
Sudan is accused of supporting Libyan Islamists government based in Tripoli, as reports say Jihadist fighters from Sudan and other African countries are joining the Libyan chapter of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) or Daesh group.
In September, 2014, the Libyan government had expelled the Sudanese military attaché after accusing Khartoum of flying weapons to Islamist rebels in Tripoli.
RUNNING FOR PRESIDENCY IN 2020
Responding to a question about his intentions to run for a third term in 2020, al-Bashir pointed that the 2005 constitution “limits the president to serving only two terms”, saying “I’m now serving my second term”.
He added that a number of leaders might compete to gain the chairmanship of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP), saying the party chairman will be the nominee for the presidency.
The NCP Shura Council, in October 2014, choose al-Bashir again to be the party’s candidate for the presidential elections of April 2015, in spite of his pledge earlier to not run for the office of President again.
In an interview with the Egyptian weekly, Al-Ahram in August 2016, al-Bashir said he would step down from the presidency and remains away from politics at the end of his term in 2020.