Egypt and Sudan in stand-off over rebels


Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir accused Egypt of supporting rebels at war with Khartoum, a week ahead of a visit to Cairo by Sudan’s foreign minister aimed at easing tensions between the neighbouring states.

Egypt and Sudan have been at odds in recent months on issues ranging from disputed land in southern Egypt to trade restrictions and burdensome visa requirements threatening bilateral commercial ties.

In a speech to Sudanese armed forces, Bashir said Sudan’s military seized Egyptian armoured vehicles from rebels in the war-torn southern Darfur region.

Egypt’s foreign ministry denied supporting the rebels.
“Egypt respects the sovereignty of Sudan over its territory and has not and will not interfere for a single day to destabilise Sudan or harm its people,” it said in a statement.

Bashir, wanted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court, has been at war with various rebel factions in three southern regions of Sudan for years.

The United States said earlier this year it would lift long-standing economic sanctions if Sudan made progress on ending the conflicts, with an initial review period to expire in July.

Sudanese Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour is expected to travel to Cairo on May 31 to discuss, among other issues, a simmering trade dispute blocking Egyptian agricultural imports.