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
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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.” 


Trump and Haftar discuss 'counterterrorism efforts' in Libya

Updated 7 min 36 sec ago
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Trump and Haftar discuss 'counterterrorism efforts' in Libya

WEST PALM BEACH: The White House said on Friday that President Donald Trump spoke by phone on Monday to Libyan military commander Khalifa Haftar and discussed "ongoing counterterrorism efforts and the need to achieve peace and stability in Libya."
The statement said Trump "recognized Field Marshal Haftar’s significant role in fighting terrorism and securing Libya’s oil resources, and the two discussed a shared vision for Libya’s transition to a stable, democratic political system."
It was unclear why the White House waited several days to announce the phone call.
On Thursday, both the United States and Russia said they could not support a UN Security Council resolution calling for a ceasefire in Libya at this time. Also on Thursday, mortar bombs crashed down on a suburb of Tripoli, almost hitting a clinic, after two weeks of an offensive by Haftar's eastern troops on the Libyan capital, which is held by an internationally recognized government.
Trump arrived on Thursday at his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, for the Easter weekend.
Russia objects to the British-drafted resolution blaming Haftar for the latest flare-up in violence when his Libyan National Army (LNA) advanced to the outskirts of Tripoli earlier this month, diplomats said.
The United States did not give a reason for its decision not to support the draft resolution, which would also call on countries with influence over the warring parties to ensure compliance and for unconditional humanitarian aid access in Libya. The country has been gripped by anarchy since Muammar Gaddafi was toppled in 2011.
White House national security adviser John Bolton also spoke recently to Haftar.