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Egypt voices support for protest-hit Sudan

FILE PHOTO: Sameh Shoukry

Khartoum, Sudan | AFP | Egypt’s foreign minister on Thursday voiced support for Sudan’s embattled government, as Khartoum grapples with demonstrations against price hikes in which a disputed number of protesters have been killed.

Cairo’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and intelligence chief General Abbas Kamel arrived in Sudan’s capital on Thursday for talks with President Omar al-Bashir and other officials at a time when angry crowds have held anti-government rallies in Khartoum and other cities.

“Egypt is confident that Sudan will overcome the present situation,” Shoukry told reporters after he met Bashir at the presidential palace in Khartoum.

“Egypt is always ready to support Sudan and the ability of Sudanese people as per the government of Sudan’s vision and policies,” he said.

The “stability of Sudan means (the) stability of Egypt,” Shoukry said in what were the first remarks by a top regional Arab official in support of Bashir’s government since protests began on December 19.

The visit of the two Egyptian officials comes after the protests evolved into deadly clashes between riot police and protesters angered by a trebling of bread prices to three Sudanese pounds (about six US cents).

Sudanese authorities say eight demonstrators have been killed, but Amnesty International has put the death toll at 37, citing “credible reports”.

Cairo and Khartoum have recently sought to iron out their differences in a bid to improve relations roiled by a longstanding border dispute and an impasse in talks over Ethiopia’s Nile dam.

In October Sudan lifted a ban on agricultural imports from Egypt during a visit to Khartoum by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

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