If like myself you like looking at maps to see disputed areas then you mat have noticed the Halaib Triangle and Bir Tawil adwicged between Egypt and Sudan. So, who owns Bir Tawil and who owns the Halaib Triangle?
To read about the Abyei Question click here.
The Halaib Triangle and Bir Tawil
At one point Egypt as essentially a colony of the United Kingdom, while Sudan was a condominium between the two. This means both ran the place, rather than a swish condo in Manila.
In actuality it was the British that ran the show in Sudan, something many of my Sudanese friends amazingly wish was still the case. Debates about colonialism aside there were basically two maps drawn denoting the border between Egypt and Sudan, one in 1899 and one in 1902.
One map set the border at the 22nd parallel, while the other gave Sudan the Halaib Triangle, which has a coastline and Egypt the barren wasteland that is Bir Tawil. Naturally both recognised the map that benefited them. This meant that the Halaib Triangle was for the most part open to both sides, while Bir Tawil became the only unclaimed piece of land on earth!
You can read more about Bir Tawil here.
The Halaib Triangle post-independence
Following the independence of Sudan the area largest remained open, although kind of shared and nimbly at least under the control of Sudan. For example Sudanese goods would go through customs in the area and Sudanese could vote in the very few elections that took place here. Alas this would not go on forever.
Joint-control started to seep away in 1992 when Egypt started to send in troops to back up its claims, with Sudan withdrawing troops in 2000, while not renouncing its claim.
Diplomatic discussions have taken place, but Sudanese attempts at international aberration have been refused by the Egyptians, given the distinct fact that might well lose and end up with the booby prize that is Bir Tawil.
The Halaib Triangle in 2023
Despite the complaints of the Sudanese Egypt has been slowly, but surely solidifying its presence as well as the integration of the Halaib Triangle into Egypt. This has been militarily, linking it to the national grid, as well as trying to improve the economy.
It has also refused to let Sudanese elections take place, nor foods to flow into the area, with customs now being done on what Egypt views as the border.
Can tourists visit the Halaib Triangle?
This is a grey area, but one that YPY are very much exporting! As things stand Egypt sees it as a special border area, so if we do get a chance to visit it would need an permit.
Getting there would mean a nice overnight train from Cairo to Aswan, then a 5 hour car journey.
To check out our Alternative Egypt Tour click here.
So, who owns the Halaib Triangle, Egypt, or Sudan?
This is one of those compacted questions, not unlike Transnistria, or Nagorno-Karabakh. Basically the area is occupied by Egypt, so whether it is morally Sudanese, or not, it is defcato currently a part of Egypt.
Therefore if you visit the Halaib Triangle, or indeed Bir Tawil you can claim to have been to Egypt for the former and well, just Bir Tawil for the later.
To read more about Bir Tawil click here.
This of course, much like places such as Taiwan may well change one day, but for now the status quo is the status quo.
Want to see Bir Tawil? Them jump on our 2023 tour.