Sudan’s new PM meets with Egyptian president in Cairo

Egyptian Presidency shows Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi meeting with Sudan's Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok at the Ittihadia presidential palace in the capital Cairo. (AFP)
Updated 18 September 2019

Sudan’s new PM meets with Egyptian president in Cairo

  • He will discuss bilateral relations after years of sporadic tensions during the rule of autocratic former President Omar Al-Bashir
  • Ties between the two countries were for years frayed by repeated failures to reach a deal over an upstream Nile dam

CAIRO: Egypt’s president on Wednesday met with Sudan’s newly appointed prime minister before heading to New York to attend the United Nations General Assembly.
Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and Abdalla Hamdok discussed bilateral relations, according to a statement from the Egyptian presidency. Relations between the two Nile Valley neighbors suffered from sporadic tensions over three decades of rule by Sudan’s autocratic former president, Omar Al-Bashir.
The Sudanese military overthrew Al-Bashir in April amid months of pro-democracy protests. A power-sharing deal between the military and the protesters established a new administration that includes a cabinet headed by Hamdok.
Egypt has backed the new authorities in Sudan follwing Al-Bashir’s ouster. Diplomatic ties have frayed in recent years due to repeated failures to reach a deal over an upstream Nile dam being built by Ethiopia, as well as the revival of a longstanding dispute over a border territory held by Egypt and claimed by Sudan.
Hamdok was to head to France to meet with President Emmanuel Macron, but the French Embassy in Sudan tweeted that the meeting was canceled because there was no time in Macron’s agenda, and they were working to set a new date for the visit.
El-Sisi’s government wants Sudan to back its cause in the Nile dam dispute with Ethiopia amid stalemated negotiation between the three countries. Egypt had accused Al-Bashir of siding with Ethiopia in the dispute over the soon-to-be-completed dam.
Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry earlier this month visited Sudan and discussed the Nile dam dispute.
A round of talks in Cairo earlier this week over the $5 billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam failed to achieve progress.
Egyptian Irrigation Ministry says the two-day talks did not touch on “technical aspects” of the dam. It said Ethiopia’s delegation refused to discuss an Egyptian proposal on filling and operating what will be Africa’s largest hydroelectric dam, which is center of the dispute.
Egypt fears the dam could reduce its share of the Nile River, which serves as a lifeline for the country’s 100 million people. Ethiopia has roughly the same population and says the dam will help its economic development.
The dam is now more than 60% finished, and Ethiopia hopes to become a key energy hub in Africa upon its completion. The dam will generate about 6,400 megawatts, more than doubling Ethiopia’s current production of 4,000 megawatts.
Egypt received the lion’s share of the Nile waters under decades-old agreements seen by other Nile bastion countries as unfair.


Iraq prudent over taking foreign Daesh terrorists

Updated 18 October 2019

Iraq prudent over taking foreign Daesh terrorists

  • European states have been trying to fast-track a plan to move thousands of foreign Daesh militants out of Syrian prison camps and into Iraq

BAGHDAD: Iraqi officials appeared cautious on Thursday after holding talks with European powers this week aimed at accelerating efforts to create a judicial framework that would enable terrorists being held in Syria to face trial in Iraq.

European states have been trying to fast-track a plan to move thousands of foreign Daesh militants out of Syrian prison camps and into Iraq, after the Turkish offensive in northern Syria raised the risk of radicals escaping or returning home, diplomats and officials said.

Legal experts from Belgium, Britain, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden have been in Baghdad this week for technical talks, and French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian was in Iraq on Thursday to discuss the issue with the Iraqi government and Kurdish leaders. Speaking at a news conference with Le Drian, Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammed Al-Hakim said his government’s priority was to bring back Iraqi fighters and their families “if possible.”

FASTFACT

European states have been trying to fast-track a plan to move thousands of foreign Daesh militants out of Syrian prison camps and into Iraq, after the Turkish offensive in northern Syria raised the risk of radicals escaping or returning home.

“With regard (to) foreign fighters ... these countries must take necessary and appropriate measures to try these people,” he said. 

Europeans comprise a fifth of around 10,000 Daesh fighters held captive in Syria by Kurdish militias which are under heavy attack by Turkish forces. If the militias redeploy prison guards to the front line, there is a risk of jail-breaks.

Europe does not want to try its Daesh nationals at home, fearing a public backlash, difficulties in collating evidence against them, and risks of renewed attacks from militants on European soil.