CAIRO (AP) — President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi of Egypt on Saturday met with Sudan’s leader in Cairo for talks that focused on ties between the two neighbors, officials said.
El-Sissi welcomed Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan, head of Sudan’s ruling sovereign council, at the Cairo international airport. The Sudanese leader stopped in Cairo on his way home from New York where he addressed the U.N. General Assembly on the political stalemate in his county following a military coup he led nearly a year ago.
According to a statement from the Egyptian presidency, the two leaders held talks in the Itihadiya presidential palace. The statement offered only generalities about bilateral ties including trade, economic and military cooperation.
They also discussed regional topics including Ethiopia’s controversial, unfinished dam on the Nile River’s main tributary. Egypt and Sudan want an international agreement to govern how much water Ethiopia releases downstream, especially in a multi-year drought, fearing their critical water shares might be affected.
Sudan and Egypt have deepened ties since the ouster of former Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir in April 2019 amid a public uprising against his nearly three-decade of rule. The two nations signed an agreement to strengthen military cooperation in March 2021.
Egypt, however, fears ongoing political turmoil could destabilize its southern neighbor. The turmoil has worsened following the military coup in October last year. The military takeover removed a Western-backed, civilian-led government and upended Sudan’s short-lived transition to democratic rule.
After months of deadlock and U.N.-brokered talks between the military and pro-democracy groups, Burhan announced the military’s withdrawal from the talks with civilians, to allow political parties to form a transitional government.
The pro-democracy movement, which includes dozens of political parties and protest groups, have yet to agree among themselves on a transitional government, which prompted Burhan to blame them for the gridlock.