Home | Comment & Analysis    Tuesday 18 July 2017

Why I believe Halayeb Triangle is an Egyptian territory


By Tor Madira Machier

Since the exit of the Anglo-Egyptian colonisation of Sudan, Egypt’s Halayeb Triangle has been a subject of false ownership claim by the Khartoum successive regimes. In fact, the dispute has never been in the interest of the Sudanese people, nor the Sudanese people - rather than the Islamists regime in Khartoum - had anything to dispute against the Egyptian ownership of the Halayeb Triangle. However, the regime, led by Field Marshal Omar Hassan Ahmed Al-Bashir, which has been, in recent years, trying to oversee hostile sentiments against neighbours claims the Halayeb Triangle - which lies north of the Equatorial line 22 degree north - is a Sudanese Territory. The claim of the elites in Khartoum against Egypt is disputed by history because it is mainly based on false assumption that there is a cultural link between the Sudanese people and the residence of Halayeb which lies in the Egyptian governorate of Red Sea.

Sudan has never been peaceful with its neighbours even South Sudan which breaks away from it just six years ago because of the administrative humiliation of the South and imbalance in the distribution of natural resources to all the Sudanese people. The same controversial claim of the Sudanese ownership of Halayeb is going on between the Sudan and South Sudan over the ownership of Abyei Area of South Sudan.

Just like Abyei was transferred to the administration of Kordofan province by the colonial regime, Halayeb which has been under Egypt since the signing of the Condominium Agreement between Britain and Egypt in January 1899 was transferred in 1902 to Sudan by the colonial regime just because of its shortest distance to Khartoum. When the transfer was done, Sudan and Egypt were one country with the same administration.

Although the condominium rule had given Egypt the ownership of Halayeb, the territory was Egyptian even before the Turko-Egyptian administration of Sudan and before the demarcation of the border with Sudan on January 19th, 1899.

As stipulated in the Condominium Agreement, which became the constitution for the joint British Egyptian administration of Sudan, the two parties to the agreement designated territories south of the twenty-second parallel, to which the Halayeb lies north of it, as the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan which later gained its independence in January 1956. Sudan’s claim of the Halayeb ownership which is mainly rooted in their belief that there is a “cultural affiliation” of the Halayeb residents to the Sudanese people doesn’t justify that Halayeb is a Sudanese territory because of this. In Ethiopia for example, there are Ethiopian Nuer in Gambella region, yet the South Sudanese people cannot claim that Gambella is a South Sudanese territory because of the cultural links between the Ethiopian Nuer to South Sudan.

Just like the counterpart in South Sudan, the regime in Khartoum has nothing to do with the welfares of the Sudanese people and the protection of the Sudanese border, it works to create hostile activities against the neighbouring countries. The government of Sudan does not control its borders; its jurisdiction is affected by the presence of armed groups which out of the regional humiliation based on ethnicity by the Khartoum regime took up arms. The Southern borders are controlled by the SPLM-North, in the West, is controlled by two factions of the Sudan Liberation Army of Abdul Wahid Nur and Minawi and other armed groups.

Because it has come into its sense that there will never be exemption of Egypt’s ownership of the area, the Sudanese regime in Khartoum resorted to spreading hostile information about the people of Egypt through the government controlled media in Khartoum and elsewhere in Sudan and has compelled independent media houses to spread the same fabrications against Egypt. And also the regime, which cannot even fight South Sudan, threaten, on daily basis, military confrontations with Africa’s military giant - Egypt- which it will never execute.

Despite having a border dispute with other countries like Egypt, the regime continues its claims over the Abyei Area of South Sudan while the Sudanese people which it silenced has nothing to do with Bashir’s hostile activities towards Sudanese neighbours.

Tor Madira Machier is a South Sudanese columnist living in Cairo Egypt, he can be reached via: tormadira2013@gmail.com or via: tormachier.blogspot.com

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