Sudan has decided to officially adopt the principle of reciprocity with Egypt and will introduce identical measures in response to the decision by Cairo to refuse entry and return Sudanese citizens from Cairo International Airport last week, the Sudanese foreign minister said in a statement yesterday.
Speaking in front of a parliamentary affairs committee today, Ibrahim Ghandour said the government was acting in response to the treatment of Sudanese journalists by the Egyptian authorities.
From now on, entry into the Sudan by Egyptian nationals will have to be dealt with at consular level… The return of a citizen means that we will return Egyptians and impose fines on Egyptians much in the same way that this has been done to Sudanese citizens.
Ghandour revealed he had contacted his Egyptian counterpart, Sameh Shukri, to put a temporary halt to outstanding issues between the two countries until the crisis is over. Ghandour said that he would wait for the Egyptian response to determine, in writing, an agreed joint framework for the treatment of respective citizens entering both countries.
He also stressed his unwillingness to allow affairs with Egypt to reach the level in the 1990s, when relations were at an all-time low following the attempted assassination of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak which was blamed on the Sudanese administration.
He said that Egypt's move to return Sudanese citizens from Cairo airport and prevent them from entering its territory almost caused the relationship between the two countries to return to square one; but he reiterated the importance of dealing with Egypt with great sensitivity considering the strategic relations between the two countries and the interdependence of the two peoples. He pointed to the fact that some 850,000 Sudanese citizens live in Egypt.