Sudanese foreign minister Ibrahim Ghandour fired saying state is late paying diplomats
Sudan’s Ghandour fired — look for strain in Cairo-Khartoum relationship. Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir fired Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour on Thursday, according to Sudan News Agency. The statement does not provide an explanation, but the AP notes that it comes just days after Ghandour told reporters that the Sudanese government is seven months behind on paying diplomats’ salaries.
What does this mean for GERD and Halayeb? Al Bashir has yet to appoint a new minister to replace Ghandour, who was a lynchpin in talks on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) and Sudan’s territorial dispute with Egypt over Halayeb and Shalatin. One of Ghandour’s last moves as foreign minister was filing a complaint to the UN against Egypt for allowing Halayeb residents to vote in the March presidential election and for undertaking development projects in the disputed regions.
As for GERD, Ethiopia and Sudan failed to respond to Egypt’s invitation to hold another round of talks in Cairo on Friday, Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said during a televised interview, Al Masry Al Youm reported. Shoukry warned against further delays in holding the talks, adding that Egypt would wait until Ethiopia and Sudan show “the same level” of commitment to resolving the issues before moving ahead with negotiations. Ethiopia is reportedly pushing to host the next round of talks in Addis Ababa next month, Sudanese sources close to the matter tell Al Shorouk. Sudan has largely sided with Ethiopia, which it hopes “would fulfill promises of free electricity generated from the dam.” Sudan’s position on GERD has helped sour ties between Cairo and Khartoum, but Ghandour and Shoukry had been working to slowly mend relations. Former Ethiopian prime minister Hailemariam Desalegn’s surprise resignation in February had also left Egypt concerned that progress made with Addis Ababa on the dam issue would be undone.