Egypt's ex-army chief and newly inaugurated president Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi said during his trip to Khartoum on Friday that "Sudan is part of Egypt," triggering controversy on whether the remark had any political meaning.
In a visit that lasted only three hours, Al-Sisi met with his Sudanese counterpart Omar al-Bashir and held a joint press conference. According to Anadolu news agency, Al-Sisi thanked his hosts for their "warm welcome," emphasising that Egypt is essentially "part of Sudan" and that "the visit comes in that context."
It was unclear whether Al-Sisi was referring to the historical union between the two countries in the 1950s.
Al-Sisi added that his government is expecting a visit by the Sudanese president "in due course."
Al-Bashir welcomed Al-Sisi's visit and "his insistence to pay the visit despite his busy schedule."
"The visit proves that our bilateral relations are heading in the right direction," Al-Bashir said.
"Our relations are rooted in historical, cultural, religious, and racial links, not merely geographical proximity," he added.
He said that he discussed with Al-Sisi "a number of topics that would benefit the two peoples, as well as a number of regional issues."
"Our visions regarding regional issues have been identical," he added.
Journalists were not allowed to ask any questions during the press conference.
Dozens of Islamic groups in Khartoum protested against Al-Sisi's visit.