Egypt and Sudan: Diplomatic pacification, unresolved affairs

Source: MadaMasr

Author (s): Asmahan Soliman and Hossam Bahgat

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This paper examines recent developments in the relations between Egypt and Sudan. Asmahan Soliman and Hossam Bahgat note that a multiplicity of factors affect bilateral relations between both countries. The three mains areas of dispute being:- the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, Halayeb and Shalateen province, and Sudan hosting members of the Muslim Brotherhood. Additionally, internal Sudanese politics affect the discourse, and are considered as being the final factor affecting relations between both countries. Sudan and Egypt are both tied by a larger geographical context and pre-existing alliances. Additionally, Saudi Arabia has been highly involved as a mediator between both parties. As such, Cairo’s position until now, has been to “‘wait and see’” in regards to Sudan.

Quietly and without an official announcement is how Osama Shaltout, Egypt’s ambassador to Sudan, returned to his post in Khartoum on Tuesday. On the same day, Abdel Mahmoud Abdel Halim, Sudan’s ambassador to Egypt, returned to Cairo two months after he was recalled due to tension between the neighboring countries.

Shaltout spent the better part of two months in Cairo, as the Egyptian government worked to resolve the tension. Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ahmed Abu Zeid told Mada Masr on Wednesday morning that the reason for the ambassador’s stay in Cairo had been to “take part in official meetings.” Abu Zeid also stressed that Cairo did not recall Shaltout, either in response to Khartoum’s January decision or at any point since.

Although the return of both ambassadors to their respective posts is an indication of the end of the public escalation of tensions, several Egyptian and Western diplomats as well as observers believe that the matters which originally triggered the crisis earlier this year have yet to be settled, even if the restoration of diplomatic relations is a step in the right direction….

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