Sudan's foreign minister Ibrahim Ghandour at a meeting earlier this year with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi in Cairo. File picture: Egyptian Presidency via AP

Johannesburg - Egypt has rejected claims by Sudan that the Halayeb and Shalateen areas of southern Egypt fall under Sudanese sovereignty and are being occupied by Cairo, Egypt's Al Ahram online reported on Friday.

Sudan's foreign ministry sent a letter to the United Nations, declaring Khartoum's rejection of the April 2016 Egyptian-Saudi border demarcation agreement. 

Egyptian foreign ministry spokesperson, Ahmed Abu Zeid, said that Egypt planned to send a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres outlining its challenge in response to Khartoum's letter and the claims included therein.

Cairo asserts that Halayeb and Shalateen are Egyptian land, inhabited by Egyptian citizens under Egyptian sovereignty.

The Halayeb Triangle is an area of land measuring 20 580 square kilometres located on the Red Sea and comprising the disputed border area between Egypt and Sudan.

The disputed border goes back to the "political boundary" set in 1899 by the Anglo-Egyptian Condominium, which runs along the 22nd parallel north, and the "administrative boundary" set by the British in 1902. This gave administrative responsibility for an area of land north of the line to Sudan, which was an Anglo-Egyptian client at the time. 

With the independence of Sudan in 1956, both Egypt and Sudan claimed sovereignty over the area. Since the mid-1990s, Egypt has exercised de facto effective administration of the area as part of the Red Sea Governorate, following the deployment of Egyptian military units there in the 1990s.

African News Agency/ANA