Egypt and the Sudanese Crisis
Tuesday، 24 November 2009 - 12:00 AM
Foreign Minister Mohammad Kamel Amr went on a 2-legged tour on April 15, 2012 which took him to Khartoum, Sudan and Juba, South Sudan in an effort to defuse the growing tension between the two countries over the oil-rich Heglig region.
Fighting is now at its worst since the peace deal reached in July 2011, when South Sudan officially seceded taking away 75% in oil revenues which Khartoum had previously harvested.
Egypt seeks to defuse the crisis by launching peace talks between the two sides.
- The Chairman of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces Field Marshall Hussein Tantawi phoned Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir and South Sudan President Salva Kiir to discuss ways of resolving the crisis
- Foreign Minister Mohammad Kamel Amr called Ethiopian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Deputy Prime Minister Haile Mariam Desalegne. Discussions focused on the developments of the situation on the borders between Sudan and South Sudan and ways of coordinating Egyptian and Ethiopian efforts to defuse the tension.
The Ethiopian Minister welcomed the role Egypt intended to play in that context and agreed to coordinate efforts with Cairo.
- During his visit to Sudan on April 15, 2012 Foreign Minister Amr conveyed a verbal message from Field Marshall Tantawi to Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir in which he expressed Egypt’s willingness to assist in resolving the crisis with the help of either the African Union or neighboring countries. The message highlighted the need to ensure Sudan’s stability and security.
On his part, Sudanese President al-Bashir expressed his appreciation of Egypt’s role in achieving peace in Sudan particularly since the beginning of the crisis .
Egypt has launched an initiative, which seeks to achieve comprehensive and just peace by resolving the present crisis in the Helgig region based on the outcome of Foreign Minister Amr’s visit.
Both Khartoum and Juba have expressed their wish to engage Egypt in an effort to bridge the yawning gap between the two sides.
On its part, Khartoum expressed the desire that the following issues be specifically defined:
- Security arrangements and border demarcation;
- Oil export fees; Khartoum believes it was dealt an unfair hand after the breakaway of South Sudan.
- The legalizing of southerners residing in Sudan and northerners residing in South Sudan.
Effects on Egypt
Politicians are warning against the threat of war between Juba and Khartoum, particularly since Egypt would be the country most at jeopardy in terms of Nile water shortage.
Juba could join Ethiopia and Uganda in their quest to redistribute Nile waters, thereby ignoring the share of the two downstream countries Egypt and Sudan.
Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Hisham Kandil says that Egypt would definitely be affected by a war between Sudan and South Sudan. It is essential that Egypt seeks to achieve peace in the region, since tension is likely to adversely affect development efforts and investments in all Nile-basin countries.
A negative effective of the decision of both Juba and Khartoum to go to war was the postponement of a visit to Egypt scheduled for April 17, 2012 by Kenyan Minister of Water Resources Management Charity Kaluki Ngilu. The discussions would have focused on providing Egyptian expertise on human resource management and capacity-building, rain-water harvesting, subterranean well digging and ensuring water for household needs.