CAIRO: President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi welcomed the two-day visit of his Sudanese counterpart Omar al-Bashir in a news conference Sunday.
“The negotiations were very positive and reflecting the keenness of both sides on the bilateral relations,” Sisi continued. He added that both sides enjoy great development and economic cooperation .
Sisi said their talks included the latest developments on the regional arena of Africa and the Middle East.
“We agreed to upgrade the ministerial committee to a presidential level;” the committee will hold its meetings in Khartoum and Cairo alternately to follow up what will be agreed on all fields, Bashir said in his speech.
“The meetings will be held between the concerned ministers on all bilateral relations during the coming period for preparation of the Joint High Committee,” Sisi added.
Bashir noted that there are three roads that link Sudan and Egypt: the coastal road, the Eastern Nile road and the Western Nile road, which will be inaugurated in March 2015.
Bashir announced that he talked with Sisi about activating the Four Freedoms Agreement between Egypt; the agreement would grant Sudanese and Egyptians citizens reciprocal rights to work, reside, and transit through the two nations.
“There s a very strong willing to such the bilateral relations and there are benefits for both countries,” Bashir noted, saying “the media has very dangerous role. The role could be reconstructive or destructive. I agreed with Sisi that the media outlets will not affect us because it [the relation] is very strong and has base could be shakable by any wind or storms.” He added “the reconstructive role of the media is requested.”
The two nations currently have a land dispute concerning a 20-km-square area called the Halaib triangle. Two maps of the territories were set by the British army; one, in the 1899, says the triangle belongs to Egypt and another in 1902 says the area belongs to Sudan.
The talks also tackled the Halaib triangle and the controversial Ethiopian Grand Renaissance Dam, but both presidents did not talk about it in their speeches, according a statement from the Sudanese opposition Arab Coalition for Sudan Saturday.
Bashir’s visit is his first to Egypt since the ouster of the former President Mohamed Morsi July 3, 2013.
The Sudanese president was indicted by the International Criminal Court in 2009 for charges of committing genocide against the civilians in Darfur. Egypt is not a member of the Court, and therefore is not treat-bound to extradite him to The Hague. Bashir met with former president Mohamed Morsi Sep. 16, 2012.
Human Rights Watch previously condemned the announcement of Bashir’s current visit, “Bashir is sought by the International Criminal Court on charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Darfur. Even though Egypt is not a member of the ICC, it should not welcome this fugitive from justice for alleged atrocities.”