By Mohammed Amin
Sudan and Egypt have agreed to work on easing a diplomatic row that in recent weeks had soured relations between the two neighbors.
The agreement came out of a Thursday meeting in Khartoum between Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shokri and Sudanese counterpart Ibrahim Ghandour.
Speaking at a joint press conference after the meeting, Shokri told reporters that mounting political tensions had led to a “media war that has negatively affected relations between our two countries”.
“We are keen to end this [media war] and work with the Sudanese side to maintain good relations and overcome any misunderstandings,” he added.
Ghandour, for his part, criticized recent anti-Sudan sentiments in the Egyptian media, which he said had reached “unacceptable levels”.
Both men then proposed that a “media charter of honor” be drafted and signed between the two sides with a view to preventing similar rows in the future.
Tensions first emerged in mid-March after the Sudanese authorities banned the import of certain Egyptian products.
Shortly afterward, reports emerged in the media that Sudan’s defense minister had accused Egypt’s military of “provoking” the Sudanese army in the disputed Halaib Triangle area, located on the border between the two countries.
What’s more, earlier this month, Khartoum implemented a decision requiring young Egyptian male nationals seeking to enter Sudan to obtain entry visas.
In yet another escalation last week, Ghandour had openly accused Egypt’s UN representative of supporting calls to extend international sanctions -- in place since 2006 -- on Khartoum.
The Egyptian Foreign Ministry denied Ghandour’s claims.
The Egyptian media, for its part, heavily criticized Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir’s visit to Ethiopia last week, describing it as a “provocation” against Egypt.
For the last five years, Cairo and Addis Ababa have remained in dispute over the latter’s construction of a massive hydroelectric dam on the Nile River.
- ‘Outstanding issues’
Despite the reconciliatory tone of Thursday’s joint press conference, Ghandour asserted that “several outstanding issues” still needed to be addressed by the governments of both countries.
He went on to cite alleged activity by Sudanese opposition groups on Egyptian territory and the need for stepped-up bilateral security cooperation.
‘’We have consistently stressed the need to stop all Sudanese opposition activity taking place on Egyptian territory,” Ghandour said.
“We have also emphasized the importance of exchanging security information [with Khartoum] with a view to protecting both countries’ national security,” he added.