What does Sudan’s President Bashir want?

From time to time, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir utters something that stirs woes and blow up the case again… This is the case of Halayeb and Shalateen.

President Bashir made an enthusiastic speech to the youth of the ruling party in Sudan, saying, “We have documents to prove that the Halayeb area is Sudanese [territory].”

It is as if Bashir is pouring more gasoline on this issue. Despite the good relations between Cairo and Khartoum, and also between Bashir and Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. After any meeting between the two presidents, Bashir talks about brotherly relations and the importance of strengthening them, but Bashir’s words these days come while Egypt is engaged in a fierce war against terrorism. This timing worries me.

It is noticeable that whenever the Sudanese president faces internal problems, he resorts to “heating up” the atmosphere, with nothing to resort to but the issue of Halayeb and Shalateen.

I do not know what Bashir talks about regarding documents proving his claims, but all we have confirms that Halayeb and Shalateen are Egyptian territories.

I am proud that I was the first to stir this case, especially after I received many complaints from the tribes of Basharya and Ababada in this region. They were complaining of the deterioration in services and living conditions due to lack of interest by successive Khartoum governments to provide any services to the people of this region since Cairo allowed Khartoum (when it was under the Egyptian- English rule) to administrate the territory, without waiving Egypt’s sovereignty of it.

When Cairo found the deterioration of the situation of this region, it exercised its legal right and recovered its management of the region, quickly compensating the population and providing all services to them. Cairo is still executing this role to save the population and compensate them for all the Sudanese neglect over a century.

I tell you that what moves President Bashir these days is that Egypt announced maritime and land concession areas for oil exploration by international oil companies, especially since the finalization of the demarcation of Egypt’s territorial waters in the Red Sea. There is also evidence of the existence of oil there. It seems Bashir wants to make up for the oil lost to South Sudan.

Or perhaps he just wants to have a share of any oil and natural gas discovered in the land or waters of the Halayeb and Shalateen area. Otherwise, what has prompted President Bashir to stir this issue now?

The issue is oil. Bashir can fix his financial conditions, but that should not be at the expense of the brotherly relations between the Egyptian and Sudanese peoples. This bothers me at a time when Egypt is fighting terrorism and trying to rebuild the nation. Is the goal to busy Egypt with such minor issues?!

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