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Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Egypt did not demand the exclusion of Sudan from GERD talks: Egyptian foreign minister

Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry has denied media reports that Egypt sought to sideline Sudan in discussions on Ethiopia's dam project, calling on media outlets to be more 'objective' in their coverage

Ahram Online , Monday 8 Jan 2018
Egyptian and Sudanese foreign ministers
A file photo of Egyptian foreign minister Sameh Shoukry , Sudanese foreign minister Ibrahim El-Ghandour and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi in Cairo in June 2017
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Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry has denied media reports that Egypt demanded the exclusion of Sudan from negotiations over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) project, which has been the source of tension between the two neighbouring nations.

In a live interview on ON ETV channel's Kol Youm talk-show on Sunday, Shoukry denied media reports in recent days that Egypt wanted the World Bank to replace Sudan in the GERD talks.

In late December, Egypt recommended that the World Bank act as an impartial technical mediator in the GERD talks between Shoukry and his Ethiopian counterpart Workenh Gebeyehu in Addis Abba.

"We did not recommend the exclusion of Sudan. On the contrary, I spoke with Sudanese Foreign Minister Ibrahim El-Ghandour concerning our recommendation the next day," said Shoukry.

Egypt's foreign ministry sent an official letter to the Sudanese foreign ministry concerning its World Bank recommendation, but there has been no reply so far, Shoukry said.

He called on the Egyptian media to be objective in discussing issues affecting Egypt-Sudan relations and to avoid disrespect to either side.

Commenting on Sudan's decision to recall its ambassador to Cairo for consultations on Thursday, Shoukry said the move was related to the region of Halayeb and Shalateen, which both Egypt and Sudan claim as sovereign territory.

"The Sudanese ambassador was recalled because of the Halayeb and Shalateen issue," he said, adding that due to the sensitivity of the issue, the leaderships of the two countries had agreed to deal with it alone.

Sudan has long maintained that the area of southern Egypt known as the Halayeb Triangle belongs to Sudan and is being occupied by Egypt.

Shoukry said that Sudan is among the most important countries for Egypt, with a whole foreign ministry department dedicated to Sudanese affairs, led by one of his assistants.

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