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Sudan’s Bashir travels to Cairo to seek Egypt’s backing as protests rage

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir will travel to Cairo on Sunday to meet his Egyptian counterpart, his second trip abroad since anti-government demonstrations began in his country, the official Sudanese news agency, SUNA reported.

“President Omar al-Bashir will discuss regional issues of interest to both countries with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi,” the agency said.

President Bashir’s visit to Cairo was confirmed to AFP by Sudanese Ambassador to Egypt Abdel Mahmoud Abdel Halim.

Driven by an economic crisis and shortages, Sudan has been shaken since December 19 by almost daily demonstrations triggered by the government’s decision to triple the price of bread.

Protesters have called for the departure of President Bashir, who came to power almost 30 years ago in 1989, following a coup d‘état.

According to an official report, 30 people have died during the demonstrations, while activists report at least 40 deaths and the opposition movement with up to 50 deaths.

The Association of Sudanese Professionals, spearheading the protest against the Sudanese President, called on Saturday for night demonstrations and new rallies in the coming days.

The Sudanese President visited Doha on 22 January. Qatar, a gas-rich emirate in the Gulf, said it supported Sudan’s “unity and stability”.

Omar al-Bashir has always rejected any responsibility on the part of the security forces for the deaths of demonstrators, blaming the violence instead on “conspirators”.

Bashir is subject to two International Criminal Court (ICC) arrest warrants for war crimes, crimes against humanity (2009) and genocide (2010) in Darfur.

The conflict in this region of western Sudan, which has decreased in intensity in recent years, has left more than 300,000 people dead and 2.5 million displaced, according to the UN.

On Friday, the main opposition leader, Sadek al-Mahdi, expressed his support for the demonstrations that have been calling for President Bashir’s departure for several weeks.


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