The eastern Sudanese Beja Congress has criticised the government’s “weak position” on the disputed Halayeb Triangle, an area of disputed sovereignty between Egypt and Sudan.
Halayeb, an area of land measuring 20,580 square kilometres, lies on the border of Egypt and Sudan near the Red Sea. Both countries claim sovereignty over the area following Sudanese independence in 1956. The dispute is a result of the discrepancy in the demarcation of a “political boundary” set in 1899 by the Anglo-Egyptian Condominium and an “administrative boundary” set by Britain in 1902.
The Egyptian army seized control of Halayeb after a failed attempt by Islamists, backed by Sudan, to assassinate the then Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Addis Ababa in 1995.
Beja Congress leader Abdallah Mousa told Radio Dabanga that the Egyptian government has imposed its sovereignty over the triangle by annexing the town of Halayeb.
“Cairo considers Halayeb just another Egyptian province. For the current parliamentary election in Egypt, the Egyptian authorities have set up a system of governance in the area. The new administration issues ID cards. Also schools have been built,” he explained.
“Khartoum has always associated the issue of Halayeb with the relations between the two governments. The Sudanese government only protests the Egyptian occupation when there is a decline in relations”.
The Beja Congress has repeatedly called on Khartoum to resort to international arbitration “so that the issue will be settled, as happened with the area of Taba in the northern part of the Sinai peninsula”.