Cairo denies backing maintenance of UN sanctions against Khartoum over Darfur

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Egypt’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Ahmed Abu Zeid denied Thursday evening recent  reports suggesting that Cairo backs maintaining 12-year-old sanctions against Khartoum over Darfur.

Sudan’s Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour asked Cairo on Thursday to explain the position of Egypt’s representative on the Darfur Sanctions Committee, after rumours emerged that Egypt had backed in a 7 April meeting of the committee a call for  maintaining a UN arms embargo on Darfur as well as other sanctions imposed by UN resolution 1591, including travel bans and asset freezes on parties involved in the conflict in Western Darfur.

“It was appropriate that the Sudanese brothers should have sought such information directly from the Egyptian mission at the United Nations, especially as the liaison between our missions is continuously ongoing,” read a statement from Egypt’s foreign ministry.

Egypt is currently a non-permanent member of the Security Council.

“The latest meetings of the Darfur Sanctions Committee did not tackle extending sanctions against Sudan as the UN Security Council already supported a decision to extend sanctions for one year in February.

Egypt has been very keen that the council adopt a balanced resolution for the benefit of the Sudanese people,” Abu Zeid added.

The UN resolution, which has been in place since 2005,  also imposes an arms embargo on Darfur and calls on states that supply Sudan with military equipment to take measures to prevent their use in that region of the country.

On Monday, Sudan’s foreign ministry said that its decision requiring Egyptian men between 18 and 50 to obtain entry visas to travel to Sudan is aimed at preventing terrorists from infiltrating the country.

While Egyptians could previously enter Sudan without a visa under a deal signed between the two countries in 2004, Cairo had previously required Sudanese nationals to obtain visas before entering Egypt.

Sudan’s ambassador to Cairo told Ahram Online that imposing the visa requirement was part of technical procedures that are regularly revised.

Last month, several media outlets in Egypt and Sudan engaged in a sparring match after Sudan’s media minister said that his country’s civilisation was older than that of Egypt.

The minister’s comments reignited a debate over the Egyptian Halayeb and Shalatin Triangle border region, which Khartoum says are Sudanese.

The area has been a source of tension for decades, with rows occasionally erupting over which country has the right to manage the area’s natural resources.

Source: Ahram online

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