By Mohamed al-Khatam
The Sudanese authorities on Friday announced that Egyptian men between 16 and 50 years old would henceforth require entry visas to enter the country, according to Sudanese officials.
Previously, Egyptian nationals had been allowed to enter their southern neighbor visa-free.
Sudan’s Interior Ministry received the order -- which went into effect “immediately” -- from the Sudanese cabinet on Thursday, Sudanese police spokesman Omar al-Mukhtar told Anadolu Agency.
The new restriction, al-Mukhtar pointed out, will not apply to Egyptian women seeking to enter Sudan.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Qareebullah al-Khader confirmed the decision, which, he said, had been agreed to in advance between Khartoum and Cairo.
“There is a preexisting visa agreement between the two countries that requires men between 16 and 50 years old to obtain entry visas," al-Khader told Anadolu Agency.
He refrained from providing details, however, as to when the agreement had been reached or why it had not gone into effect earlier.
Several years ago, Egypt imposed a similar entry visa requirement on male Sudanese nationals of the same age bracket.
The move comes amid tensions between the two countries, especially over the disputed Halayb Triangle region and Sudanese support for an Ethiopian Nile dam that Egypt opposes.
The move also comes ahead of a planned Sunday meeting in Khartoum of a joint Egypt-Sudan consultation committee, which will be attended by the foreign ministers of both countries.