Sudan, Egypt inaugurate border crossing

Sudan and Egypt on Thursday officially inaugurated Qastal-Ashkeet border crossing linking the two countries after a trial period of six months.

Sudanese First Vice-President Bakry Hassan Salih and Egyptian Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab cut the ribbon marking the official inauguration during a ceremony organized at the Sudanese side of the crossing, Ashkeet area, in the presence of ministers and officials as well as citizens from both countries.

“The official inauguration of the crossing expresses the political will of the two countries to surpass the geographical borders and work to achieve the integration in a manner that brings benefit for the two countries’ peoples,” Salih addressed the ceremony.

“As of today, there is no rivalry, dispute or contradiction of interests between the Sudanese and Egyptian peoples,” he said, adding that “Today, we are witnessing a new beginning in the ties between the two peoples of the Nile Valley and we hope efforts would continue until integration is achieved.”

For his part, Mahlab said “the inauguration of the crossing comes in incarnation of the political directives by the leadership of the two countries, opens a new chapter for the communication between the two peoples of the Nile Valley and avails deeper communication between the population components in Egypt and Sudan.”

He reiterated willingness of the Egyptian leadership to enhance and leverage the political, economic and social ties with Sudan.

“The size of the commercial exchange between Egypt and Sudan has not exceeded 500 million U.S. dollars. This is a weak figure and does not suit the potentialities of Sudan and Egypt,” Mahalab said.

Meanwhile, Director of Ashkeet-Qastal crossing on the Sudanese side Al-Hady Al-Jack told reporters that the movement on the two sides of the crossing has been flowing naturally without any barriers since the trial inauguration on Aug. 27 last year.

He explained that the number of passengers coming from Egypt to Sudan ranged between 400 and 500 daily and those leaving Sudan to Egypt between 350 and 450 persons daily.

He added that 40 to 50 trucks cross daily from Egypt to Sudan carrying chemical materials, fodder, construction materials, fruits, electric devices and furniture, while about 20 to 25 trucks leave Sudan daily to Egypt, carrying sesame and live and cooled meat.

The Ashkeet-Qastal border crossing lies between Wady Halfa in northern Sudan and Aswan Province in southern Egypt, and the total area of the crossing amounts to 45,000 square meters besides an area of 15,000 square meters as accommodation for the workers at the port.

Source; The Punch