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Egypt bars entry to Sudan opposition leader, statement

July 1, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - Egyptian security service prevented the Sudanese opposition National Umma Party (NUP) leader Sadiq al-Mahdi from entering to Cairo after his participation in a meeting with the German government over peace in Sudan.

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NUP leader Sadiq al-Mahdi speaks to reporters at a press conference in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, on 30 November 2014 (ST)

"On June 30, the Egyptian authorities rejected the entry to its territory of the last elected Sudanese Prime Minister and the representative of the country’s legitimacy, Imam Sadiq al-Mahdi, upon his return from meetings in the German capital Berlin between the German government and leaders of the Sudan Call forces on June 29," said a statement issued by Meriam al-Mahdi, the NUP deputy chairperson.

Al-Mahdi until Sunday midi is in Cairo airport.

Meriam who travelled with him to Germany for the meeting said the Egyptian authorities had requested him to not take part in the opposition meeting with the German official to discuss ways to revitalize an African Union roadmap for peace and democratic reforms.

But al-Mahdi declined the Egyptian demand "given that foreign dictates are a categorically rejected-approach, especially the trip was related to the future of peace and democracy in Sudan," stressed the statement.

The NUP deputy leader said they would travel to London after the entry ban by the Egyptian authorities.

Besides Meriam, al-Mahdi is accompanied by Mohamed Zaki, media and public relations secretary of al-Mahdi’s office. Both they are not affected by the entry ban and can enter into Egypt said the statement but they will take the fight to London with him.

A source close to the opposition leader said al-Mahdi would travel to London through Abu Dabi and they may reach their destination today or Monday as they are looking at flight bookings.

The statement condemned the Egyptian decision saying this unprecedented ban "did not take into consideration the status and symbolism of Imam Sadiq al-Mahdi as the last (Prime Minister) elected by the Sudanese people in free elections as his legitimate representative, as a leader of the opposition Sudan Call, leader of the National Umma Party and Imam of Al-Ansar brotherhood, and the chair of the Global Wasatiyyah Forum.

Last April after al-Mahdi election as leader of the Sudan Call alliance, President Omer al-Bashir threatened to punish political leaders allied with rebel leaders.

This is the first time that al-Mahdi faces such pressures from the Egyptian authorities as he used in the past to reside in Egypt several times.

After years of suspicions since the military coup against the former Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, Sudan and Egypt recently developed a joint security cooperation against the opposition groups from both sides.