Shoukry and Ghandour (Photo: Ahram)
The Sudanese ambassador to Cairo will “return to Egypt soon,” Sudan's foreign minister Ibrahim Ghandour said on Thursday at a press conference with his Egyptian counterpart FM Sameh Shoukry in Cairo.
"The dialogue between Egypt and Sudan is [a first step] towards [the ambassador’s] return,” Ghandour said following talks with his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry, which were attended by Sudanese intelligence chief Mohamed Atta Al-Mawla Abbas and Egyptian intelligence chief Abbas Kamel.
Ghandour and Abbas arrived in Cairo on Wednesday for a two-day visit to discuss bilateral relations with Egyptian officials.
Sudan recalled its ambassador to Egypt in January for consultations without citing an official reason or revealing when he might return.
Relations between the two countries have been strained in recent months due to Sudan’s claims of sovereignty over Egypt’s southern Halayeb Triangle region, as well as the Sudanese stance in the talks on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).
Ghandour revealed that he and Egyptian officials agreed to hold a ministerial summit in Khartoum soon to discuss the GERD issue. The meeting will include the two countries’ ministers of foreign affairs and irrigation, as well as the intelligence chiefs from Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia.
Ghandour added that he would propose the meeting to Ethiopian officials upon his return to Khartoum.
The Sudanese foreign minister also denied reports that Sudan's Suakin would host a Turkish military base on the Red Sea coast.
Ghandour said that the Turkish government will only renovate the buildings in Suakin, including two mosques, with the aim of turning the area into a tourist attraction.
“There is no space [in Suakin] for anything new,” Ghandour said.
"There are no talks about military bases or military cooperation in any other area in Sudan," the minister said, stressing that his country is coordinating with Egypt on the security of the Red Sea.
Egyptian FM Shoukry read a joint statement by the Egyptian and Sudanese officials, saying that they would hold meetings periodically to discuss coordination between the two countries.
The statement added that the officials will prepare for a meeting of the Sudanese-Egyptian Joint Committee headed by Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir in Khartoum later this year.
The last meeting of the joint committee was held in Cairo in 2016.
The two counties also agreed to boost military and security cooperation as well as form a joint military and security committee.
The officials also agreed to enhance cooperation on Nile water issues within the framework of their commitment to bilateral agreements, including the 1959 agreement on Nile water allocation.
The statement added that Egyptian and Sudanese officials would work to implement the results of the tripartite summit between the leaders of Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia in January within the framework of the declaration of principles signed in Khartoum in 23 March 2013.
Egypt and Sudan will continue to cooperate in the fields of energy and transportation as well as infrastructure projects, the statement said, adding that the two countries respect each other’s internal national security.