Sudanese marine forces deployed in Halayib
Sudanese Army - REUTERS/James Akena

CAIRO: The 101st Port Sudan Marine division celebrated Tuesday the return of troops stationed in Halayib after they finished their military durties assigned by the Sudanese army, Sudan’s official news agency (SUNA) reported Tuesday.

“The presence of Sudanese armed forces in Halayib could express its sovereignty over the region,” Red Sea Governor Mohamed Tahir Eila said.

“The Sudanese army stationed in Halayib are just a symbolic power that does not interfere in the internal affairs of the country,” an official military source said, adding that Egypt had agreed on the presence of the those elements when the Egyptian army seized control of Halayeb and the Shalateen region.

Sudanese forces deployed in Halayib are in limited supply with limited weapons and equipment, the military source added.

Further, the Walta Information Center (WIC), a private Ethiopian media house, announced Monday that the Sudanese capital of Khartoum is scheduled to host the Sudanese-Ethiopian Investment Forum this Saturday. The two-day forum is organized by Sudan’s National Investment Agency in collaboration with the Ethiopian embassy in Khartoum.

In a Sunday statement, the higher Council for Investment State Minister Ali Moussa Tawer said that the forum would provide a strong boost for the progress of economic, social and cultural relations between the two countries, noting that the forum’s agenda would focus on achievement in the investment field through a review of various working papers on joint opportunities for trade and investment.

Sudanese-Ethiopian relations flared up in 1995 due to a failed attempt by Islamists allegedly backed by Sudan to assassinate former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak in Addis Ababa.

The Egyptian government issued last February a decree turning Halayib, an area of land measuring 20,580 square km in the border area of the Red Sea coast, into a city that encompasses the villages of Abu-Ramad and Ras-Hedreba, a Sudanese newspaper reported.

However, Egypt’s chargé d’affaires in Khartoum, Wail Barakat,  said in a telephone call with Sada al-Balad TV channel on Feb. 18 that these remarks are not on the negotiating table, claiming that they were fabricated by a Sudanese newspaper.

The disputes over Halayib date back to as early as 1958 after Sudan gained independence. The dispute is a result of a discrepancy in the separation of political boundaries set by the Anglo-Egyptian condominium and the ones set earlier in 1902 by the British.

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