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Durham University

IBRU: Centre for Borders Research

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Press conference to address the Hala’ib Triangle land dispute between Sudan and Egypt

(14 January 2016)

The foreign ministers of Sudan and Egypt held a joint press conference on the 9th of January to address the countries’ longstanding dispute over the territory that straddles their shared border: the Hala’ib Triangle.

In 1899, the Anglo-Egyptian condominium agreement for Sudan set the boundary on the 22nd parallel as the border between the two countries. Three years later in 1902 the British created a new dividing line, granting administration of the area to Sudan because of its proximity and access to Khartoum. The administrative boundary created the Hala'ib triangle north of the 22nd parallel and a small area, the Bir Tawil south of the parallel. With the independence of Sudan in 1956 both countries claimed sovereignty over the Hala’ib triangle; Egypt regarded the 22nd parallel as the territorial boundary between the two countries whilst Sudan claimed the 1902 administrative border. 

Conflict erupted two years later, in 1958, when Sudan announced plans to hold elections in the Hala’ib triangle. Egypt’s President Nasser sent troops into the disputed region but withdrew a month later.

Joint control of the land remained in effect until 1992, when Egypt protested Sudan’s granting of exploration rights for the waters off the triangle to a Canadian oil company. In 2014, Cairo signed contracts with companies for gold exploration in the area. Khartoum responded by deploying a force of marines.

In the press conference, Sudanese Minister of Foreign Affairs Ibrahim Ghandour announced that Sudan is renewing its complaint against Egypt in the UN Security Council in a bid to save its historical rights to the area.

His Egyptian counterpart, Sameh Soukry, declared that Egypt and Sudan are committed to finding an agreement to serve the interest of the two peoples, and to achieving economic development in the face of international and regional threats.


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