Egypt earmarks LE1 bn for housing in contested Halayeb Triangle

Amid rising tensions between Egypt and Sudan, the governor of the Egyptian Red Sea governorate announced the allocation of LE1.1 billion for the construction of housing units in the towns of Halayeb, Shalateen and Abu Ramad, located in the Halayeb Triangle, which is administered by Egypt and claimed by Sudan.

Red Sea Governor Ahmed Abdallah earmarked the money and announced that the state-owned Arab Contractors company would construct the units, the state-owned Middle East News Agency (MENA) reported on Wednesday. 

Abdallah also mentioned a previous decision to build ports in Shalateen and Abu Ramad at a cost of approximately LE270 million.

The announcement was made on the same day Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry traveled to Khartoum for talks about the much-contested triangle, which Sudan claims is currently occupied by Egypt and has been under de facto Egyptian administration since the mid-1990s.

Last week, the privately owned Egyptian daily newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm reported that Egyptian security forces had arrested 221 Sudanese citizens in Shalateen, whom it claimed were residing there illegally. 

The Egyptian government announced in July its intention to enforce control over the triangle, either through developmental interventions to expand the population or through increasing its security presence by deploying more patrols.

In May, a source in the Egyptian government told Mada Masr that Sudanese security forces had arrested three Egyptian employees who were working for a private company installing security systems to monitor the border.

Egypt’s tense relationship with Sudan was exacerbated when the latter expressed support for Ethiopia in its dispute with Egypt over the potential impact of the Renaissance Dam on the amount of Nile water reaching Egypt.

The strained relationship between the two countries was evident during Shoukry’s visit to Khartoum, which was postponed several times before it finally took place on Wednesday.

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