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Sudan union wants Egyptian journalists expelled

April 25, 2017

Sudan’s pro-government journalists’ union on Tuesday urged Khartoum to expel Egyptian reporters from the country after Cairo refused entry to two Sudanese journalists who had travelled to Egypt.

The call comes with Khartoum and Cairo trying to improve their ties, which deteriorated after Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir accused Egyptian intelligence services of supporting opposition fighters.

The Sudanese Journalists’ Union said Cairo had denied entry to two Sudanese journalists and deported them back home, and in response it demanded the expulsion of all Egyptian journalists based in Sudan.

The union named the two deported Sudanese journalists as columnist Al-Tahir Satti and reporter Eman Kamaleddin. Satti is a known critic of the Egyptian authorities.

Kamaleddin was deported from Cairo airport on Monday night, just 24 hours after Satti was refused entry into Egypt, the union said. Sudanese media also reported the two had been denied entry into Egypt.

“This is a clear targeting of all Sudanese journalists,” the union said in a statement.

“The Egyptian intelligence is trying to blame Sudanese journalists for the failure of Egyptian policy towards Sudan.”

The union urged its members to stop travelling to Egypt even for medical checkups, and visit countries that “respected” Sudanese journalists.

“The union is calling on the government to respond in similar fashion by expelling all Egyptian media representatives based in Sudan, including Egyptian state media journalists,” it said.

“It also urges the authorities to ban all Egyptian publications from selling in Sudan, and orders Sudanese television and radio networks to stop broadcasting Egyptian news.”

Relations between neighbours Cairo and Khartoum have been tense in recent months after Bashir accused Egyptian intelligence services of supporting Sudanese opposition figures fighting his troops.

The Egyptian media has also accused Khartoum of offering refuge to members of the Muslim Brotherhood movement, which was declared a “terrorist group” by Cairo following the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013.

However, the two countries are now engaged in high-level diplomatic initiatives to improve their relations, with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry visiting Khartoum last week for a talk with his Sudanese counterpart Ibrahim Ghandour.

A point of dispute between Cairo and Khartoum has also been Egypt’s occupation of Halayeb triangle, which lies near the Red Sea in a mineral-rich border region.

Khartoum says that Halayeb has been part of its sovereign territory since shortly after independence in 1956.

Dispatches from AFP concerning freedom of information, censorship and news coverage in regions where independent media is under threat.