Sudan accuses Egypt of escalating border dispute

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Sudan has accused Egypt of escalating the dispute over the border town of Halayeb after Cairo announced its appointment of a new administrator for the area. The Egyptian minister of Local Development Adil Habeeb appointed a chairman for the local council in Halayeb amidst strong opposition from the Sudanese parliament.

Speaking in Khartoum on Tuesday Sudanese MP Malik Hussein who heads the Parliamentary Subcommittee on Foreign Affairs, Security and Defense on Tuesday described Egypt’s move as provocative.

Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) soldiers guard the airport in Malakal

The decision to appoint a chairman for the local council of the area is unacceptable. Halayeb is an integral part of Sudanese territory Hussein declared.

He suggested that the dispute be resolved through international laws given that his country remains keen to maintain ties with Egypt.

But Sudan has no wish to abandon Halayeb he warned.

According to Hussein the Sudanese government will undertake the necessary measures to respond to the Egyptian move.

The Halayeb triangle overlooks the Red Sea and has been a contentious issue between the two countries since 1958, shortly after Sudan gained independence from Anglo-Egyptian rule.

The area has been under Cairo’s full military control since the mid-1990s following an attempt on former Egyptian President Mohamed Hosni Mubarak’s life.

Egypt has brushed aside Sudan’s repeated calls for referring the dispute to international arbitration.

In February, the Egyptian government issued a decree turning Halayeb into a city that encompasses the villages of Abu-Ramad and Ras-Hedreba.

The Egyptian move was likely a response to the recent decision by the Sudanese National Elections Commission (NEC) to include Halayeb as a constituency for the 2015 elections.

Sylvia Lohan

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