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Sunday, 4 June 2017

Shoukry meets with Sudanese Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour

As if nothing ever happened, Sudan’s Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour downplayed tensions between Sudan and Egypt, calling the relationship “sacred” following talks with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry in Cairo. During a meeting postponed from earlier in the week, the pair discussed Sudan’s ban on Egyptian agricultural products, national security concerns, and President Omar Al Bashir’s accusations that Egypt had been arming rebels in Sudan.

Talks were positive, but no breakthroughs in easing tensions: Ghandour spun the ban as being due to “technical issues that came at the wrong time.” He said both sides should enact prior agreements visas and travel between the two countries, while Shoukry also said that they agreed to hold monthly political consultations, according to Al Masry Al Youm.

Sudan sticks to its guns on security issues: Ghandour did not back down from Al Bashir’s accusation that Egypt was arming rebels, said the claim was made based on “reliable intelligence” and adding that “security experts” are looking into the matter. Ghandour proposed establishing a joint border patrol force, the Sudan Tribune reports. Conspicuously absent from the official statements was mention of Halayeb and Shalatin.

Tensions lurk beneath the surface: Ghandour’s statements on joint border security come amid reports of the Sudanese military deploying over 90,000 troops on its border with Egypt in response to Egyptian forces reportedly “arriving in big number[s]” in the area, according to the Libyan Express. Egyptian street vendors have also reportedly been banned from working in the North Darfur region of El Fasher, according to Sudan Tribune. The paper says Khartoum had also issued a similar ban last Monday on “Egyptian household utensils vendors.”

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