Is Sudan abandoning the Muslim Brotherhood to mend ties with Egypt?

Shounaz Meky - Al Arabiya English
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Strained Egyptian-Sudanese relations appear to be easing amid reports that Khartoum has “expelled” Muslim Brotherhood members to mend fences with Cairo.

The two Nile River neighbors have common bonds of history, language and religion. But diplomatic relations have been frosty over the past years due to various reasons.

Among them was Khartoum’s alleged hosting of Muslim Brotherhood members who escaped Egypt following the ouster of former Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi -- a member of the now terrorist-designated group.

A news report by the London-based Al-Hayat newspaper suggested that Khartoum expelled “tens of Egyptian Islamists” who sought refuge in Sudan following the forceful dispersal of the pro-Mursi sit-in at Rabaa al-Adawiya Square.

The Sudanese authorities reportedly “expelled” during the past two months tens of Muslim Brotherhood and Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya members, Al-Hayat quoted a source as saying.

The newspaper quoted an Islamist source who said that Sudanese authorities “sent indirect messages” to Egyptian Islamists suggesting that it “is better for them to leave Sudan.” Some of them travelled to Malaysia and others to Turkey, it added.

Several Egyptian newspapers hailed the news, while some denied it was true.

Last month, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi met with his Sudanese counterpart Omar Al-Bashir in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa as they both agreed to begin a new phase of bilateral relations, a joint statement said.

Al-Bashir told Al Arabiya in an interview aired on Sunday that his relationship with Sisi is “very distinct”, and denied that Khartoum has hosted Muslim Brotherhood members.

Following uprisings that rocked the Arab world, members of the Muslim Brotherhood across the region flocked to Khartoum to reassemble themselves and hold meetings, an expert on Islamist groups quoted by Asharq al-Awsat said Friday.

He claimed that Egyptian security prosecution following the ouster of Mursi has forced many Brotherhood members to flee to Sudan.

But due to pressure from Gulf countries and the United States, he said, Sudan has “reconsidered” its stance towards the group.

“Cairo demands a complete dry-out for Muslim Brotherhood presence in Sudan in addition to the extradition of those wanted,” he told the newspaper, adding that it is one the most detrimental issues with regards to diplomatic ties between both countries.

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