CAIRO (AP) — Egypt’s president visited Sudan on Saturday, his first visit to the country since a popular uprising led to the military’s overthrow of longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir in 2019.

President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi met with with Gen. Abdel Fattah Burhan, head of the ruling Sovereign Council, at Khartoum’s presidential palace. There, they inspected a military guard of honor. El-Sissi also met with Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, and Gen. Mohammed Hamdan Dagal, deputy head of the sovereign council.

“This visit comes within the framework of close cooperation between the two nations,” Burhan told a news conference with el-Sissi. “We discussed all the files that support mutual cooperation.”

The Egyptian leader discussed with Sudanese officials an array of issues, including economic and military ties and the two nations’ dispute with Ethiopia over a massive dam it is building on the Blue Nile, Egypt’s presidency said.

El-Sissi, who returned to Cairo later Saturday, also discussed Sudan’s border dispute with Ethiopia and security in the Red Sea region, which has become a theater of growing competition among world and regional powers in recent years, the statement said. Both Sudan and Egypt are members of a newly established Red Sea forum, along with six other African and Asian nations.

The brief visit came amid a rapprochement between the two governments. Egypt has in recent years sought to rebuild ties with its southern neighbor, an effort that has intensified since al-Bashir’s ouster in April 2019. Top civilian and military officials from both nations have exchanged regular visits. The countries signed an agreement last week to strengthen their military cooperation.

“We have been facing common regional threats, and we have to work together to face these threats on all fronts,” Egypt’s Chief of Staff Mohamed Farid said while visiting Khartoum last week.

During al-Bashir’s era, relations between Sudan and Egypt suffered from sporadic tensions. These included the revival of a longstanding dispute over a border territory, the Halayeb Triangle, which is held by Egypt and claimed by Sudan.

Despite decade-long negotiations, the two countries have repeatedly failed to reach a three-party deal with Ethiopia over its massive dam.

SOURCE: Associated Press

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