April 12, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan’s defence minister Awad Ibn Ouf Wednesday disclosed the Sudanese army is facing “provocations” from the Egyptian army in the disputed area of Halayeb.
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 January 1956.
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.
In a closed hearing before the National Assembly on the security situation in the country Wednesday, Ibn Ouf said: “the Egyptian army is harassing and provoking the Sudanese forces in Halayeb region, and we exercise restraint and waiting for the problem to be resolved politically between Presidents al-Bashir and al-Sisi”.
Last month, Sudan’s foreign ministry instructed the concerned bodies to develop a roadmap to end the Egyptian presence in Halayeb.
In October 2016, Sudan once again lodged a complaint to United Nation Security Council (UNSC) over Halayeb triangle.
Last April, 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.
ETHIOPIAN FARMERS SPAN OVER SUDAN TERRITORY
Meanwhile, sources who took part in the closed hearing told Sudan Tribune the defence minister also revealed that Ethiopian farmers have stretched into the lesser and greater Al-Fashaga areas inside the Sudanese territory.
It is noteworthy that farmers from two sides of the border between Sudan and Ethiopia used to dispute the ownership of land in the Al-Fashaga area located in the south-eastern part of Sudan’s eastern state of Gedaref.
Al-Fashaga covers an area of about 250 square kilometres and it has about 600.000 acres of fertile lands. Also, there are river systems flowing across the area including Atbara, Setait and Baslam rivers.
Sudan and Ethiopia agreed in 2004 to demarcate the 1,600 km-long border after tension over the distribution of disputed land to Ethiopian farmers following the intervention of the Ethiopian army to clear some Sudanese villages on the border.
However, the Ethiopian opposition accuses the ruling party of abandoning Ethiopian territory to Sudan.