KHARTOUM/CAIRO (Reuters) - Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir accused Egypt on Tuesday of supporting rebels at war with Khartoum, a week ahead of a visit to Cairo by Sudan’s foreign minister that is aimed at easing tensions between the neighboring states.
Egypt and Sudan have been at odds in recent months on a range of issues from disputed land in southern Egypt to trade restrictions and burdensome visa requirements that have threatened bilateral commercial ties.
In a speech to Sudanese armed forces, Bashir said Sudan’s military had seized Egyptian armored vehicles from rebels in the country’s war-torn southern Darfur region.
Egypt’s foreign ministry denied supporting the rebels.
“Egypt respects the sovereignty of Sudan over its territory and has not and will not interfere for a single day to destabilize Sudan or harm its people,” it said in a statement.
Bashir, who is wanted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court, has been at war with various rebel factions in three southern regions of Sudan for years.
The United States said earlier this year it would lift longstanding economic sanctions if Sudan made progress on ending these conflicts, with an initial review period set to expire in July.
Sudanese Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour is expected to travel to Cairo on May 31 to discuss, among other issues, a simmering trade dispute that has blocked Egyptian agricultural imports.
Reporting by Ali Mirghani; Writing by Eric Knecht; Editing by Richard Lough and Gareth Jones