Egypt Doubles Border Posts Along Border with Sudan
CAIRO, Egypt (AP) _ Egypt is strengthening border security in a region that Cairo and Sudan both claim, a defense ministry source said Sunday.
The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Cairo doubled its border posts to 20 about four or five months ago. He gave no explanation for the action.
The move apparently was kept quiet until Sudan recently accused Egypt of sending military reinforcements to the region.
Sudan has said the Egyptian move in Halaib, overlooking the Red Sea, would have ″unfavorable consequences.″
Egypt and Sudan both claim Halaib. Egypt says an agreement with Britain in 1899 set the Egyptian-Sudanese frontier along the 22nd parallel, making Halaib Egyptian. Egypt gave Sudan administrative powers in the area in 1902 because Sudanese tribes inhabit the enclave.
Sudanese Ambassador Ezzeddin Hamed, who met with Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr Moussa on Sunday, said he hoped to solve the problem peacefully.
″We are trying to solve this issue in a responsible and wise manner which will prevent any escalation,″ Hamed said.
Another source of tension has been Muslim extremism. Egypt has accused Sudan’s fundamentalist regime of setting up training camps along the border for Muslim extremists seeking to replace President Hosni Mubarak’s government with a Muslim theocracy.
Egyptian officials also claim that Iran, Sudan’s closest ally, is financing and arming the radicals.
The territorial ispute escalated a year ago when a Canadian oil company signed a concession with Sudan to drill for oil off Halaib. Egypt protested, and the Canadian company backed off.
An Egyptian-Sudanese committee on Halaib has met twice but has made little progress. Another meeting is scheduled next month.
In another development Sunday, Sudanese opposition leaders in Cairo said disbanded Sudanese political parties will establish a new anti-government alliance aimed at starting a popular uprising to overthrow the military regime in their country.
The group, to be founded in London next month, will include the centrist Umma and Democratic Unionist parties, the Communist Party and smaller parties.
Word of the meeting came from el-Sherif Zein el-Abideen el-Hindy, the secretary general of the Democratic Unionist Party.
The democratically elected civilian government of Prime Minister Sadek el- Mahdi was overthrown June 30, 1989. Sudan’s more than 30 political parties were disbanded when Lt. Gen. Omar Hassan el-Bashir came to power in the military coup.
Fighting, famine and drought have killed hundreds of thousands of people in Sudan.