May 23, 2017 / 2:46 PM / 4 months ago

RPT-Sudan accuses Egypt of backing rebels ahead of foreign minister's trip

(Repeats to additional subscribers)

KHARTOUM, May 23 (Reuters) - Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir accused Egypt on Tuesday of supporting rebels at war with Khartoum, a week ahead of a visit to Cairo by Sudan’s foreign minister aimed at easing tensions between the neighbouring states.

Egypt and Sudan have been at odds in recent months over a litany of issues ranging from disputed land in Egypt’s south to trade restrictions and burdensome visa requirements that have threatened trade ties between the two countries.

In a speech to Sudanese armed forces on Tuesday, Bashir said Sudan’s military had seized Egyptian armoured vehicles from rebels in the country’s war-torn southern Darfur region.

Bashir, who is wanted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court, has been at war with various rebel factions in three southern regions for years.

The United States said earlier this year it would lift longstanding economic sanctions if Sudan made progress on ending these conflicts, with an initial review period set to expire in July.

Sudanese Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour is expected to travel to on May 31 to discuss among other issues a simmering trade dispute that has blocked Egyptian agricultural imports. (Reporting by Ali Mirghani; Writing by Eric Knecht; Editing by Richard Lough)

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