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Egypt, Sudan Hold Talks to Defuse Tensions | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry listens during a press conference after heading a Security Council meeting on terrorism at UN headquarters, May 11, 2016. (AP)

Cairo – Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi emphasized the importance of the historical ties with Sudan, stressing the need to continue on strengthening and developing them.

He made his remarks during a meeting with the Sudanese Foreign Minister, Ibrahim Ghandour, who is currently visiting Cairo.

Egyptian Presidency official spokesman, Ambassador Alaa Youssef, said the two parties discussed means of enhancing relations on all levels. They agreed on the importance of continuing work to overcome any obstacles. The Sudanese delegation also conveyed the greetings of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.

The Sudanese and Egyptian Foreign ministers affirmed their countries’ keenness to develop better relations in all fields and to continue coordination and consultation between the two sides on various issues.

During a joint press conference with his Sudanese counterpart, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said that both Cairo and Khartoum want to enhance their relations.

The Egyptian FM said his meeting with Ghandour was “candid and transparent”, stressing the Sudanese-Egyptian relations will remain strong and will overcome any difficulties.

He also said that talks held with his Sudanese counterpart and Sisi were successful. He revealed that the two sides agreed to continue to hold the regular meeting of the consulate committee to further enhance cooperation opportunities.

Shoukry added they discussed ways to promote economic cooperation and overcome any recent restrictions to achieve the joint interest, saying he will work with Ghandour to remove any misunderstanding between the two sides.

He stated that Sisi ordered the activation of cooperation mechanisms between the two countries, particularly in the security and military domains.

For his part, Ghandour said the meeting covered all economic, political, social and cultural issues.

He also pointed out that no two presidents in the world have met 18 times like Presidents Bashir and Sisi. This confirms both leaderships’ keenness on maintaining the relations between the two countries.

He called on the Sudanese and Egyptian media to play a positive role to preserve the historic relations between the two countries, saying official ties may occasionally become tense, but “we have to maintain ties between the two peoples”.

When asked about Egypt’s announcement concerning establishing a buffer zone on the border triangle between Sudan, Egypt and Libya, Ghandour said the border between Egypt and Sudan extends over more than 1,900 km and no country can protect its border on its own.

He added that he proposed to the Egyptian leadership the establishment of a joint border patrol force, pointing to Sudan’s experience with Chad and Ethiopia that managed to protect the joint borders against terrorist groups like Boko Haram of Nigeria and al-Shabaab of Somalia.

On Sunday, Shoukry is set to meet with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir in Cairo to discuss regional and Arab affairs, as well as bilateral relations.

On Monday, Shoukry will head to Algeria on a two-day visit where he is expected to participate in the ministerial meeting with the Tunisian and Algerian foreign ministers to discuss counterterrorism efforts in Libya, coordination to address obstacles to the Skhirat agreement, and the impact of the Libyan crisis on neighboring countries.

On Thursday, Shoukry will receive French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian in Cairo. The French official is expected to meet also with Sisi.

The visit is the first since the election of French President Emanuel Macron and is scheduled to focus on counterterrorism, Middle East developments, Libya and bilateral relations.