Ethiopia’s Grand Renaissance Dam on the River Nile has topped the agenda at the first set of talks between Egypt and the new government in Sudan, Anadolu has reported. Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry met the new Sudanese Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok for the talks, during which they were joined by Sudan’s first female Minister of Foreign Affairs, Asma Mohamed Abdullah.
Apart from discussions about the controversial dam, Shoukry talked with Hamdok about ways to help Sudan during the transitional stage agreed between the Military Council and civil society opposition groups in Khartoum. The Egyptian minister expressed his pride at his country’s “strategic” relations with Sudan.
“Egypt is supporting Sudan to be removed from the [US] list of terrorist entities,” he explained. “We have also raised this issue with the USA. We will continue pushing for it in coordination with the Sudanese authorities.”
Decades of US blacklisting and a trade embargo imposed on Sudan in 1997 have kept foreign investors away from the country. This, in turn, has isolated it from the global economy.
Sudanese officials hailed the official visit of the Egyptian minister. “Strengthening ties,” they insisted, “serves the historical relations between the two countries.”
Over the years, though, there has been tension between Cairo and Khartoum over Egypt’s control of the Halayeb triangle, which lies in a mineral-rich border region. During ousted President Omar Al-Bashir’s rule, Sudan regularly protested at Egypt’s administration of Halayeb and the Shalatin border region near the Red Sea, AFP has reported. It noted that Sudan has always said these two areas are part of its sovereign territory since shortly after independence in 1956.
Ties between the neighbours improved after Sudan lifted the ban on Egyptian products in 2018 following talks in Khartoum between Bashir and his Egyptian counterpart, Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi.