Sudan summons Egypt’s envoy over oil exploration bids in disputed area

(KHARTOUM) - Sudanese foreign ministry Thursday summoned the Egyptian ambassador in Khartoum to protest a call by his government for bids on oil and gas exploration in the disputed border area of Halayeb.

The move comes 12 days after an announcement by the Egyptian state-owned South Valley Egyptian Petroleum Holding Company calling for 10 oil and gas exploration blocks in the "Egyptian territorial waters in the Red Sea"

The foreign ministry said that Egyptian Ambassador Hussam Issa received a letter of protest calling to stop the international tender for exploration of oil and gas in "Red Sea areas that are under Sudanese sovereignty".

"The Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Badr al-Din Abdallah expressed, to the Egyptian ambassador, the Sudanese protest against this announcement, calling for stopping this measure, which contradicts the legal status of the Halaib triangle and does not correspond to the steps taken by the brotherly countries to find a joint strategic partnership," emphasized the statement.

In January 2019, the two countries agreed to enhance bilateral relations after boosting security cooperation during the past year.

The Halayeb triangle, which is a 20,580 km area on the Red Sea, has been a contentious issue between Egypt and Sudan since 1958, shortly after Sudan gained its independence from the British-Egyptian rule in January 1956.

The area has been under Cairo's full military control since the mid-1990s following a Sudanese-backed attempt to kill the former Egyptian President Mohamed Hosni Mubarak.

Sudan has been notifying the UN Security Council on this issue annually since 1958 to renew its rejection of the "Egyptian military occupation of Sudan's Halayeb triangle and maritime borders".

Cairo refuses demands by the Sudanese government to hold direct talks on Halayeb and Shalateen or to accept the referral of the dispute to the International Court of Arbitration.

Source: Sudan Tribune

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