A Sudanese demonstrator wearing the colors of his national flag on the face, makes the V for victory gesture in front Foreign Ministry in Khartoum during a rally on September 29, 2019, to demand the release of a Sudanese student arrested in Egypt. (Ashraf Shazly/AFP via Getty Images)

Preserving Our Relationship With the People of Sudan

Al-Masry Al-Youm, Egypt, March 13

What surprised me even more than people’s position on the Renaissance Dam dispute were calls made in Egypt to boycott Sudan, the Sudanese people, and the Sudanese government. My surprise comes from personal experience: I still remember the days when we, the Egyptian people, and our government, maintained heartfelt and warm connections with other people and governments in the Nile Valley. The hateful words I have been hearing in the streets and reading on social media, directed against Sudan and the Sudanese people, have caught me truly off guard. I have tried a lot to understand where this anger comes from. Angry Egyptians have been calling for the expulsion of Sudanese nationals from Egypt, shutting down all border crossings with Sudan, and a complete boycott of the Sudanese economy. Yes, there is a crisis in the relationship between the two countries due to the issue of the Renaissance Dam, and there is indeed a large difference between the Sudanese and Egyptian stance on this matter. But the right thing to do is to analyze the causes and the premises that led us to reach this point in our bilateral relationship and work to fix it. The rational and right approach to dealing with this crisis is to demonstrate interest and continued communication with Sudanese people of all political streams. The recent visit of the head of the Egyptian intelligence services to Sudan is a step in the right path. It requires the collaboration of many actors, chief of which the media. Its role here is nuanced and complex. Its priority should be to change the negative rhetoric surrounding both countries and refute the historical fallacies upon which these hateful comments are propagating. Our anger at the recent Sudanese stance on the Renaissance Dam should not turn into punitive action. We must not give up the important relationship between our two peoples. This process is difficult, yet it is very much necessary. – Abdul Latif Al-Manawi (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)

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