CAIRO (Reuters) - An Egyptian television series being shown during the Muslim month of Ramadan has angered neighboring Sudan, prompting Khartoum to lodge an official complaint with Cairo.
The series, titled Abu Omar al-Masri, revolves around an Egyptian Islamist associate of al Qaeda leader and founder Osama bin Laden, who had lived in Sudan in the 1990s before he relocated to Afghanistan after Khartoum expelled him.
In a statement issued on Saturday, the Sudanese Foreign Ministry accused the Egyptian makers of the series of “trying to create and consecrate a negative stereotype image that attributes the charge of terrorism to some Egyptian citizens residing in or visiting Sudan”.
The ministry said it had summoned the Egyptian ambassador in Khartoum on May 16 and lodged an official protest.
“The foreign ministry calls on Egyptian authorities to take an appropriate decision that will put an end to the attempt by some to meddle in the interests and gains of the two sisterly countries,” the statement said.
The Egyptian Foreign Ministry made no response to the statement, but one television channel said the series was based on the “imagination of its author” and did not include any scene against the government, state or people of Sudan.
“The makers of the series realise well the role of art in bringing people closer, rather than creating a crisis against them,” the statement from ON TV said.
Relations between Egypt and Sudan, long strained by a dispute over a patch of Red Sea territory, have deteriorated further over perceived support by Khartoum for an Ethiopian dam, which Cairo says will reduce waters that run to its fields and reservoirs from Ethiopia’s highlands via Sudan.
Reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz and Sameh El Khatib, editing by Sami Aboudi and Dale Hudson