AFRICANGLOBE – A senior Sudanese ruling party official said Wednesday that the government planned to hold April general elections in a region in the country’s northeast also claimed by Egypt – but only in the part of the region controlled by Sudan.
“Elections will be held in the part of the Halayeb locality controlled by Khartoum,” Ibrahim Ghandour, deputy chairman of the ruling National Congress Party, said.
Mukhtar al-Assam, head of Sudan’s election commission, said last November that 35 polling stations had been set up in the Halayeb region.
He did not, however, say whether any of these polling stations were located on territory claimed by Egypt.
The so-called “Halayeb triangle” has remained at the center of a dispute between Egypt and Sudan since the latter won its independence from Britain in 1956.
In 1995, the Egyptian army briefly occupied the region following a failed attempt on the life of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.
Cairo had accused Khartoum of masterminding the assassination attempt. Sudan, for its part, denied the allegations.
The 20.5-square-kilometer territory is part of Egypt, according to a border agreement signed by Egypt and Sudan in 1899, when British forces occupied both countries.
In April of last year, Sudanese Defense Minister Abdel-Rehem Hussein said his country had lodged numerous complaints with the UN against Egypt due to the latter’s control over the Halayeb and Shalateen regions.
Egypt has rejected Sudanese calls to subject their ongoing territorial dispute to international arbitration.
During a visit to Cairo last October, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir agreed with Egyptian counterpart Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi to shelve the longstanding dispute with a view to establishing improved bilateral relations.