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Sudanese Paramilitary Force Ready to Ease Return of Egyptian Troops

FILE - Undated map of Sudan where it meets Egypt.
FILE - Undated map of Sudan where it meets Egypt.

The head of Sudan's paramilitary Rapid Support Forces said on Saturday that his forces were ready to cooperate with Egypt to ease the return of Egyptian troops who had handed themselves over to the group in the northern Sudanese town of Merowe.

Two Egyptian security sources said Egyptian officials were able to contact the leader of the Egyptian unit to confirm they were safe.

After clashes erupted across Sudan between the RSF and the army, the RSF shared a video they said showed Egyptian troops who had surrendered to them in Merowe, about halfway between the Sudanese capital Khartoum and the border with Egypt.

Egypt's military said Egyptian forces were in Sudan to conduct exercises with their Sudanese counterparts, and that it was coordinating with Sudanese authorities to guarantee their safety.

The video showed several men dressed in army fatigues crouched on the ground and speaking to members of the RSF, Sudan's main paramilitary group, in an Egyptian Arabic dialect.

RSF leader General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo told Sky News Arabia TV that the Egyptian soldiers were safe, that the RSF had provided them with food and water, and was ready to facilitate their return.

Egypt has long been wary of political change in Sudan. It strongly supports Sudan's army and has recently promoted negotiations with pro-army political parties, in parallel to a plan for a transition toward elections.

Egypt's president Abdel Fattah el-Sissi received a call from United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres, during which el-Sissi expressed his concern for events in Sudan and called for dialogue, according to a statement from the presidency.

Sameh Shoukry, Egypt's foreign minister, received a call from EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell to coordinate on events in Sudan, the foreign ministry said. Shoukry discussed Egypt's efforts to stop the violence, which Borrell said the EU supported, the statement said.

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