El-Sisi hosts Sudan’s president as demonstrations continue in Khartoum

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi shakes hands with Sudan’s President Omar Al-Bashir at Cairo’s airport on Sunday. (Reuters)
Updated 28 January 2019
0

El-Sisi hosts Sudan’s president as demonstrations continue in Khartoum

  • Bashir said his country was being destabilized by unidentified "harmful organizations"
  • Bashir’s trip to neighboring Egypt is his second foreign visit since unrest began on Dec. 19.

CAIRO/KHARTOUM: Unfazed by the growing demonstrations against his rule, embattled Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir on Sunday arrived in Cairo where he was hosted by Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi.
A statement released by Egypt’s presidency did not mention the monthlong protests that have rattled Al-Bashir’s rule, only saying that Egypt supported Sudan’s stability.
Bashir said his country was being destabilized by unidentified "harmful organizations" and blamed the media for exaggerating the size of his problems.
“There is a problem (in Sudan), we are not claiming that there is not. But it’s not of the size or extent raised in some media,” Bashir said in Cairo after meeting El-Sisi.
The protests were “an attempt to clone the so-called Arab Spring in Sudan,” he said, referring to similarities between the slogans and use of social media in uprisings that hit the region in 2010-2011.
Angry crowds of Sudanese protesters have been seen in videos posted online chanting “The people want the downfall of the regime,” a signature slogan of the Arab Spring.
Bashir has blamed the country’s economic woes on the United States.
Washington lifted its trade embargo on Sudan in October 2017 after two decades of bruising economic punishment, but that has failed to fix the country’s financial situation.
Bashir’s trip to neighboring Egypt is his second foreign visit since unrest began on Dec. 19. He has also visited Qatar.
“We do not claim there is no problem, but it is not of the size or dimensions that some of the media portray.”
“This is an attempt to copy the Arab Spring in Sudan, these are the same slogans and appeals and the very wide use of social media sites.”
The Sudanese people are alert and will not allow for any intrusion or attempt to destabilize the security of Sudan, he said.”
In Khartoum, authorities tried to disperse a number of sit-ins taking place in public squares in response to an appeal from a professionals’ association that has led calls for protests.
Riot police also fired tear gas at protesters trying to gather in Al-Thawra district of Omdurman, and two other areas in Khartoum, witnesses said.
Security forces fired tear gas cannisters at protesters gathered in at least four of the sit-ins, while in others demonstrators tried to block side streets leading to the main squares with rocks and other materials.
One of the slogans used by Sudanese protesters — “The people want the fall of the regime” — was made famous by uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt and other Arab states.
Sudanese security forces have deployed tear gas, stun grenades and live ammunition to disperse protests, as well as arresting hundreds of people
Authorities say at least 30 people have died in the unrest while rights groups and local opposition figures say at least 45 have been killed.
El-Sisi, who has been Egypt’s president since 2014, says he is working to restore stability following the turmoil triggered by the country’s uprising eight years ago, overseeing a widespread crackdown on opposition.
He said Bashir’s visit was “the culmination of the numerous efforts we made in the past year to reinforce bilateral relations.” 


US to leave 200 troops in Syria for a period of time - White House

A small peacekeeping group of about 200 will remain in Syria. (US Army photo)
Updated 22 February 2019
0

US to leave 200 troops in Syria for a period of time - White House

  • The decision was announced after Trump spoke by phone to Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan

WASHINGTON: The United States will leave “a small peacekeeping group” of 200 American troops in Syria for a period of time after a US pullout, the White House said on Thursday.
President Donald Trump in December ordered a withdrawal of the 2,000 American troops in Syria on the defeat of the last remnants of the Islamic State militancy there.
But he has been under pressure from some advisers to adjust his policy to ensure the protection of Kurdish forces who supported the fight against Islamic State and who might now be threatened by Turkey.
“A small peacekeeping group of about 200 will remain in Syria for a period of time,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said in a brief statement.
The decision was announced after Trump spoke by phone to Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan.
A White House statement said that the two leaders agreed, regarding Syria, to “continue coordinating on the creation of a potential safe zone.”
They noted that acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Joseph Dunford would be hosting their Turkish counterparts in Washington this week for further talks, the White House said.