Egypt-Sudan ‘Water War’: Border Dispute Escalating Over Ethiopia’s Dam and Turkey’s Involvement

Written by | Friday, January 12th, 2018
@Eubulletin

Sudan is taking Egypt before the United Nations regarding the border dispute in the Halaiab triangle on the Red Sea as tensions between the two countries have resurfaced in recent days. Khartoum and Cairo have also been at odds over a number of other issues including the distribution of the Nile river water in light of Ethiopia’s plan to build a giant dam threatening to curb their share of water. Sudanese President Omar Bachir has also decided to hand a strategic island to Turkey for development, which has also been a contentious point with the Egyptian authorities.

The border relations between the two countries are largely governed by the 1899 Sudan Convention and its subsequent “amendments”. The convention states that the word “Sudan” refers to all the territories south of the 22nd parallel of latitude. Following Sudan’s independence in 1956 and its recognition by Egypt, the 22nd parallel was agreed to be the border between the two countries. Later amendments to the deal aimed at keeping Nubian tribes unified under one administrative system have, however, proved rather problematic. Egypt seeks its role largely at facilitating day-to-day life for the Nubian tribes living along the border region by uniting them under one administration.

The Halaib triangle located on the African coast of the Red Sea is created by the difference in the Egypt-Sudanese border between the 1899 “political boundary” and the 1902 British administrative boundary, which gave administrative responsibility to Sudan. Since the mid-1990s, Egypt has been exercising de facto effective administration and has been actively investing in it. Cairo has recently been reluctant to take part in international arbitration or even political negotiations concerning the area.

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