CAIRO (AP) — Sudan’s top general held talks with the Egyptian president in Cairo on Wednesday as Sudan remains locked in a political stalemate since a military coup in October, with near-daily protests against its military rulers.
Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan, head of the ruling Sovereign Council in Sudan, was received by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi at Cairo’s international airport. The two then reviewed an honor guard at a Cairo presidential palace before sitting down to discuss bilateral issues, Egypt’s state-run television reported.
The talks also included the two nations’ dispute with Ethiopia over a massive dam it is building on the Blue Nile, according to a joint statement after the meeting. Decade-long negotiations have failed to resolve the dispute, rooted in the claim by Cairo and Khartoum that the construction of the dam will reduce their share of critically needed waters flowing into the Nile River.
Burhan’s military takeover last October removed a Western-backed, civilian-led government and upended Sudan’s transition to democratic rule after three decades of repression and international isolation under former President Omar al-Bashir.
The African nation has been on a fragile path to democracy since a popular uprising forced the military to remove al-Bashir and his Islamist government in April 2019.
The U.N. envoy for Sudan, Volker Perthes, also arrived in Cairo on Wednesday and met with Foreign Minister Sameh Shukry, according to the foreign ministry.
Perthes is leading international efforts to find a way out of the crisis in Sudan. He warned earlier this week that Sudan is heading for “an economic and security collapse” unless it addresses the political paralysis.
Near-daily street protests in Sudan demanding a return to civilian rule have been met by a crackdown on protesters that has killed more than 90 people, mostly young men, and injured thousands, according to a Sudanese medical group.
The protesters demand the removal of the military from power. The generals, however, have said they will only hand over power to an elected administration. They say elections will take place in July 2023, as planned in a constitutional document governing the transitional period.
Egypt, which has cultivated close ties with Sudan in recent years and in March 2021 signed and agreement to strengthen military cooperation, fears the deadlock would further destabilize its southern neighbor.
El-Sissi visited Sudan last year.
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