Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, head of the Sudanese army and self-proclaimed president of the Sovereign Council, visited Egypt this weekend to meet with President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi. During the meeting, the two leaders agreed to continue talks and joint cooperation on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), Asharq Al-Awsat reports.
The dam, built in 2011, is one of the most ambitious projects in Africa, but it is also a source of regional disputes. Both Egypt and Sudan accuse Ethiopia of threatening their water reserves. In order to overcome these tensions, the countries involved have held several rounds of negotiations. The last one was held in April 2021 in Kinshasa and ended without progress.
During the meeting in Cairo, Al-Sisi assured that his country hoped to further strengthen "relations with Sudan", especially in the fields of security, military, economy and trade. Al-Sisi also stressed Egypt's willingness to provide all the necessary mechanisms to achieve political, economic and security stability in Sudan, the Arabic daily reported. In this regard, Egyptian humanitarian aid was sent to Khartoum in early September to deal with torrential rains and floods.
Al-Burhan travelled to Cairo before travelling to New York to attend the UN General Assembly, where he announced that he would not stand in the upcoming Sudanese elections, which have not yet been fixed. Since the coup d'état, there have been no major changes in the Sudanese political scene, although rifts and internal struggles have emerged, such as the one between Al-Burhan and General Mohamed Hamdan Daglo -Hemedti-, something that weakens the stability of the army.
To this end, as Al-Arab reports, al-Burhan travelled to Cairo. The Sudanese military leader is looking to Egypt for help in strengthening his leadership, since, according to the Arab newspaper, Cairo "is interested in the cohesion of the Sudanese army, as it is one of the key elements in maintaining the unity and stability of the country" and therefore of the region.
However, disagreements among the military elite have plunged the country into insecurity and social and economic instability. At this point, what seems to worry Egypt most is the return of former president Omar Al-Bashir's regime, which means a return to cordiality with Ethiopia, as well as the rise of Islamism, Al-Arab notes.
Cairo seeks and needs stability in neighbouring Sudan. For this reason, some believe that Al-Sisi could back Hemedti to bring about the desired calm. However, analysts point out that Egypt, like other regional and international powers, should not bet everything on one man.
As Al-Arab notes, Al-Burhan concluded his meeting in Cairo 'without satisfactory results', as Egypt is willing to change its approach towards the Sudanese army in order to boost regional stability and its national interests.