Sudan's Leader in Cairo for Talks With Egyptian President

CAIRO (AP) -- Egypt's president on Wednesday met with Sudan's top general for talks focusing on ties between the two African neighbors.

President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi received Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan, head of the ruling Sovereign Council in Sudan at the Cairo international airport.

Both leaders then reviewed an honor guard at a Cairo presentational palace before sitting down to discuss bilateral issues, according to Egypt's state-run television.

The talks are likely to include the two nations' dispute with Ethiopia over a massive dam it is building on the Blue Nile. Despite decade-long negotiations, the countries have repeatedly failed to reach a three-party deal with Ethiopia on the filling and operation of the Grand Ethiopia Renaissance Dam.

Burhan's visit comes as his country is plunged into political stalemate since he led a military coup in October.

The Oct. 25 military takeover has upended Sudan's transition to democratic rule after three decades of repression and international isolation under former President Omar al-Bashir.

The African nation has been on a fragile path to democracy since a popular uprising forced the military to remove al-Bashir and his Islamist government in April 2019.

The U.N. envoy for Sudan, Volker Perthes, also arrived in Cairo Wednesday. He will meet with Foreign Minister Sameh Shukry, according to the foreign ministry.

Perthes is leading international efforts to find a way out of the crisis in Sudan. He has warned earlier this week that the east African nation is heading for "an economic and security collapse" unless it addresses the political paralysis.

Near-daily street protests demanding a return to civilian rule have been met by a crackdown on protesters that has killed more than 90 people, mostly young men, and injured thousands of others, according to a Sudanese medical group.

The main protest groups call for the the removal of the military from power. The generals, however, said they will hand over power only to an elected administration. They say elections will take place in July 2023, as planned in a constitutional document governing the transitional period.

Egypt, which has cultivated close ties with Sudan in recent years, fears that prolonged political deadlock would further destabilize its southern neighbor.

Top civilian and military officials from both nations have exchanged regular visits. In March 2021, both countries signed an agreement to strengthen military cooperation.

Egypt's president visited Sudan last year.