Wednesday,15 August, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1380, (8 - 14 February 2018)
Wednesday,15 August, 2018
Issue 1380, (8 - 14 February 2018)

Ahram Weekly

Newsreel: Four-sided plan

Al-Ahram Weekly

THE FOREIGN ministers of Egypt and Sudan and the heads of both countries’ intelligence agencies will meet in Cairo today, 8 February, to discuss bilateral coordination over a number of regional issues of mutual interest, a statement issued by the Foreign Ministry said on Sunday.

Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid said the meeting follows plans by President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi and his Sudanese counterpart Omar Al-Bashir to form a quadrilateral strategic cooperation mechanism between the foreign ministers and intelligence chiefs in order to enhance cooperation and tackle issues related to bilateral relations.

The two leaders met last month on the peripherals of the 30th African Union Summit held in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.

That meeting was followed by another in which Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Hailemarain Desalegn met both leaders. After that meeting President Al-Sisi said there was no crisis over the Renaissance Dam among the three countries and that their interests were one.

The three leaders agreed to resolve all pending technical issues on the dam within a month.

In December last year, Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukri proposed the involvement of the World Bank as an impartial third party in a meeting with his Ethiopian counterpart Workneh Gebeyehu in Addis Ababa.

Shoukri submitted the same initiative to Sudan a few days later. However, the two countries rejected the suggestion on the pretext that differences should be resolved through the tripartite technical committee that comprises experts from the three countries.

Relations between Cairo and Khartoum have been recently strained because of Sudan’s claims of sovereignty over the Halayeb Triangle region which is Egyptian territory. A block in the tripartite negotiations, declared after the failure of the 1th round of meetings held in Cairo in November, added to the tension which reached its climax when Sudan recalled its ambassador to Egypt Mahmoud Abdel-Halim for consultations last month without explanation.

Shoukri explained then that Cairo had been notified that the Sudanese ambassador’s withdrawal had to do with the dispute over sovereignty of the Halayeb Triangle.

A few days after withdrawing the ambassador, Sudan renewed a complaint to the UN Security Council demanding Cairo hand over control of Halayeb.

However, Shoukri stated in an interview last week that Abdel-Halim will return to Egypt soon, a sign that bilateral relations are gradually returning to normal.

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