June 6, 2009

Open letter to US president Obama

President Obama was in Egypt to make a speech to the Muslim world on June 4, 2009. In advance of his visit the Beja Congress released this open letter, appealing to Obama to help end the Egyptian occupation of traditional Sudanese land.

An Open Letter to President Obama About the Egyptian Occupation Of The Sudanese Halayeb Triangle

Barack Obama, President of the United States

Dear Mr. President Obama:
We, the Beja people from north-eastern Sudan and inhabitants of Halayeb triangle, would like to appeal to you to help to liberate the triangle from foreign occupation. 

Beja people are a separate ethnic group, living throughout North East Africa since thousands of years including the region Halayeb. This part of our country is an integral part of Sudan and belongs to the tribe of the Beja-Bisharien for centuries. The tribal administration of this ethnic group is situated in Baaluk town on the Atbara River far deep in the centre of Sudan.

All old travellers, Europeans and Arabs, who visited this region several centuries back, found this triangle under the the Bisharien-Beja tribal administration and its inhabitants to be mainly Bisharien.
It is an area of land measuring 20,580 km² located on the Red Sea coast, between the Egypt and Sudan 

The British administration unlawfully annexed this area to Egypt in 1899 treaty in a political deal without the consent of its people, and in 1902 returned the administration to the Sudanese authorities.

Halayeb is considered as an integral part of Sudan and used to take part in all parliamentary elections after independence and used to send its representatives to the Sudanese parliament regularly until very recently. Tribal ownership of the Bisharien-Beja of this area has never been questioned before.
It is undisputable.

But recently the region proved to be rich in mineral resources, especially gold and oil and its attractive sea shores drew the Egyptian attention. So they sent military troops, attacked the Sudanese military unit at Halayeb and occupied the area and kept it under the control of Egypt army since 1992.

Back in 1958 Jamal Abdel Nasser sent Egyptian troops into the region but withdrew them immediately after discovering his grave mistake.

Egypt, pretending to punish the Islamic regime of Khartoum for supporting Egyptian Jihad movement and for the attempt of the assignation of the Egyptian president in 1995 in Ethiopia, occupied our territory. But it punished the Beja people instead.

After the occupation the Egyptian authorities threw the original population out of the triangle and imposed visa regulations in case they want to enter their homes. This is pure racial cleansing, which contradicts the right of the original people to their land.

We consider the military occupation of our land and its forcible annexation to Egypt an act of aggression, which contradicts basic fundamentals  of the international law.

We would like to appeal to you to take all necessary steps to help to put an end to this aggression, restore our territory, put an end to the racial cleansing and discrimination to the original inhabitants of Halayeb.

Best regards,   Beja Congress

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