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Cairo rejects Sudan’s description of Egyptian presence in Halayeb as “military occupation”

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Halayeb Triangle (Sudan-Egypt) Borders, on 22 October 2012 (NASA-Google)

May 7, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - The Egyptian government has lodged an objection with the United Nations against the maritime baselines declared by Sudan last March saying it wouldn’t recognise any action taken by Khartoum or any international agreement that affects its sovereignty over Halayeb region.

The objection, which was deposited on 4 May and seen by Sudan Tribune Saturday, rejects Sudan’s description of Egypt’s presence in Halayeb triangle as “military occupation”. It also refuses the coordinates of the baselines provided by Sudan including Halayeb as part of its territory.

“The Arab Republic of Egypt declares its rejection and non-recognition of any action – whatever its nature - issued or may be issued in the future by the Sudan as well as any international agreement concluded by the Sudan or may be concluded in the future with any other party that would prejudice Egypt’s sovereignty over its land or sea territory north of latitude 22° north,” read the objection.

It stressed Cairo’s objection to what has been contained in Sudan’s declaration deposited on 3 March, saying that Egypt’s continued sovereignty over all lands north of latitude 22° north has been historically and legally established since the 1899 Anglo-Egyptian agreement.

“In its first article, the agreement clearly and unambiguously stated that (the term Sudan is used in this concord for all lands located south of the 22°) and this is the border inherited by Sudan in 1956,” it added.

The objection stressed that Egypt hasn’t ceased to exercise its sovereignty over the Halayeb and Shalateen area since the signing of the agreement of 1899 until today.

“It is established that the maritime areas subject to sovereignty and state jurisdiction are determined according to their land territory. The Presidential Decree No. 27 of 9 January 1990 concerning the baselines from which the maritime areas of the Arab Republic of Egypt are measured has determined the base points and the straight baselines on the Egyptian coasts including the Red Sea coast which extends south of the latitude 22° north and has been circulated in the Law of the Sea bulletin No. 16 of December 1990,” it further said.

The Egyptian objection underlined that “Sudan’s claims are baseless and contrary to the legal status established by the 1899 agreement and the permanent nature of the international borders it has established”, saying what has been stated in the Sudanese declaration about Egypt’s “military occupation” of Halayeb and Shalateen is “incorrect and unacceptable”.

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.

On 2 March, President Omer al-Bashir issued a decree including the baselines from which the maritime areas of the Republic of Sudan are measured.

By virtue of its membership in the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, Sudan is required to notify the UN Secretary-General of any development affecting the geography of its maritime boundary.

In conjunction with the notification, the Sudanese foreign ministry deposited with the UN its reservation on a similar decree issued by former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in 1990, in which he laid the baselines for the Egyptian maritime areas.

“The Republic of the Sudan declares its rejection and refusal to recognize the provisions of the declaration issued by the Arab Republic of Egypt on 9 January 1990, entitled Presidential Decree No. 27, which touches on the Sudanese maritime border, North of Line 22, which was included within the maritime coordinates announced by Egypt within its maritime borders on the Red Sea in paragraphs 56-60,” read Sudan’s declaration seen by Sudan Tribune.

“The above points (in Mubarak’s decree of 1990) are located within the maritime boundaries of Sudan’s Halayeb triangle which falls under Egyptian military occupation since1995 to date, and thus are part of the Sudanese maritime border on the Red Sea” added the declaration.

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.

(ST)

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Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.
  • 8 May 13:32, by Kalo

    Egypt thought Sudan is very weak in military due to the internal conflict but there will be time that all the Sudanese will be united and face Egyptians,Not only Halayeb but all parts of Southern Egypt will be claimed coz are parts of Sudan before Turko-Egyptian,Angalo-Egyptian,condominium rule.

    repondre message

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