Mon May 2, 2016 5:7PM
Sudanese Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour attends a meeting of Arab foreign ministers in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, on March 10, 2016. (AFP photo)
Sudanese Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour attends a meeting of Arab foreign ministers in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, on March 10, 2016. (AFP photo)

A senior Sudanese official has reiterated Khartoum’s “sovereign rights" over two border areas near the Red Sea which have been the subject of a long-standing dispute with Egypt.

Sudanese Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour told parliament on Monday that Sudan would take legal measures to assert its rights over the ownership of the contested Halayeb and Shalatin border territories.

"We will not let go of our sovereign rights on the Halayeb triangle," the minister told the lawmakers, adding, “We have adopted legal and political measures to assert our rights in the Halayeb triangle." 

Sudan and Egypt have long disputed the ownership of the two border areas. Khartoum has always protested Cairo’s administration of the border areas, considering them part of its sovereign territory since shortly after Sudan’s independence in 1956.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Ghandour said the Sudanese government was also attempting to get a copy of a recent agreement between Cairo and Riyadh on Egypt’s transfer of two islands in the Straits of Tiran to Saudi Arabia. "We need to gauge the impact of this agreement on our maritime borders.”

This comes after Egypt announced last month that it was transferring the sovereignty of the strategic Red Sea islands of Tiran and Sanafir to Saudi Arabia.

Egypt is reportedly receiving USD 20 billion in aid from Riyadh in return for the islands.

Egyptian President Abdel Fatah el-Sisi has come under increasing fire over his controversial decision to transfer the two strategic Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia. 

In recent weeks, thousands of Egyptians have protested in the capital and other cities against the decision.

On April 15, more than 1,000 angry protesters rallied in Cairo demanding "the fall of the regime."

Egyptian protesters chant slogans during a demonstration in Cairo on April 25, 2016, against the handing over of two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia. (AFP photo)

A large number of people in Egypt have also taken to social media websites over the past few days to show their anger at the government decision.

Tiran Island is located in the entrance of the Straits of Tiran, which separates the Red Sea from the Gulf of Aqaba. Sanafir Island is located to the east of Tiran Island. The two islands control entry to the Gulf of Aqaba and Jordan.

Israel took over the two Islands in 1967 during the Six Day War. The ownership of the two islands was handed back to Egypt when Tel Aviv and Cairo signed the so-called Camp David peace accords.