Sudan summons Egypt ambassador over Red Sea oil and gas exploration blocks

Sudan’s Foreign Ministry said on Thursday it has summoned Egypt’s ambassador to Khartoum, Hossam Issa, over Egypt offering oil and gas exploration blocks “in Red Sea areas subject to Sudanese sovereignty.” (File/AFP)
Updated 21 March 2019
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Sudan summons Egypt ambassador over Red Sea oil and gas exploration blocks

  • Undersecretary Badreddin Abdullah expressed Sudan’s protest at the offering
  • He called on Egypt “not to proceed in this direction that contradicts the legal status of the Halayeb triangle”

KHARTOUM: Sudan’s Foreign Ministry said on Thursday it has summoned Egypt’s ambassador to Khartoum, Hossam Issa, over Egypt offering oil and gas exploration blocks “in Red Sea areas subject to Sudanese sovereignty.”
Undersecretary Badreddin Abdullah expressed Sudan’s protest at the offering and called on Egypt “not to proceed in this direction that contradicts the legal status of the Halayeb triangle.”
The Halayeb triangle, which is controlled by Egypt, has been claimed by Sudan since the 1950s. However, Cairo says it is Egyptian territory and it has long been a source of contention between the two neighbors.


Migrants stranded at sea for three weeks face deportation

Updated 39 min 18 sec ago
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Migrants stranded at sea for three weeks face deportation

  • Vessel carrying 75 illegal refugees, including 32 children, remained stranded 25 km off Tunisia

TUNIS: Tunisia has allowed dozens of migrants, mostly from Bangladesh, to disembark after three weeks stranded in the Mediterranean, so that they can return to their home countries, the Red Crescent said on Wednesday.

An Egyptian boat rescued at least 75 migrants in Tunisian waters last month. But local authorities in the governorate of Medinine said its migrant centers were too overcrowded to let them ashore, leaving the vessel stranded 25 km off the coastal city of Zarzis.

“After they were stranded for three weeks at sea in difficult conditions, Tunisia agreed to dock the ship, and migrants accepted to return to their countries in coming days,” Red Crescent official Mongi Slim told Reuters.

After a visit by officials from Bangladesh Embassy, the migrants agreed to return home, according to Mongi Slim, a Red Crescent official.

Earlier, Red Crescent representatives welcomed to port 64 Bangladeshis, nine Egyptians, a Moroccan, a Sudanese citizen, who left Zuwara in Libya in late May.

The migrants, which include at least 32 children and unaccompanied minors, are to be transferred to a reception center in Sfax from where they are set to return home, Slim added.

Worried about creating a precedent, Tunisian authorities said they accepted the migrants as an exception and for “humanitarian” reasons.

“We thank Tunisia’s renewed commitment to life and dignity,” said Lorena Lando, the head of the International Organization for Migration in Tunisia.

She added that it is urgent to put in place a collaborative approach to helping migrants in the Mediterranean.

Neighboring Libya’s west coast is a frequent departure point for African migrants hoping to reach Europe by paying human traffickers. But their numbers have dropped after an Italian-led effort to disrupt smuggling networks and support the Libyan coast guard.

At least 65 migrants drowned last month when their boat capsized off Tunisia after setting out from Libya.

In the first four months of 2019, 164 people are known to have died on the route, a smaller number but a higher death rate than in previous years, with one dying for every three who reach European shores, the UN refugee agency UNHCR said.