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Halayeb’s dispute must be resolved through direct talks or international arbitration: Sudan’s FM

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Halayed Triangle (Stratfor copyright)

April 18, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan’s Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour said his country wouldn’t accept any proposal to hold a referendum or allow joint administration for the disputed Halayeb triangle.

Speaking to the lawmakers on Wednesday, the Sudanese top diplomat renewed his country’s non-negotiable right to full sovereignty over the region, saying the dispute should be settled either through negotiations or international arbitration.

He pointed out that Sudan recalled its ambassador to Cairo in response to the escalatory moves taken by Egyptian authorities to blur the Sudanese identity of the disputed region.

Ghandour stressed that Halayeb is an integral part of Sudan and that it remains a priority of the foreign policy, stressing their keenness to exercise a policy of restraint and non-escalation in order to preserve the eternal relations between the two countries and peoples.

He expressed hope the bilateral talks during presidential meetings or within the higher, quadripartite and political consultations committees would lead to an agreement on the issue.

The border triangle area of Halayeb, Abu Ramad and Shalateen, 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.

Egypt continued to reject Sudan’s repeated calls for referring the dispute to international arbitration.

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.

The international law provides that the agreement of the two parties is needed to arbitrate a dispute with the tribunal.

In July last year, Sudan filed a notice with the UN, claiming that Egypt is occupying the triangle, and refusing to claim any rights for a third party.

In the same month, Cairo announced it would start oil and gas exploration in the Red Sea province, including the Halayeb triangle.

(ST)

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