KHARTOUM: Sudan will start sending 5,000 cows that it promised as a gift to Egypt next week, the foreign ministry said on Saturday, just ahead of a two-day visit by Egyptian Prime Minister Essam Sharaf.
"During his last trip to Egypt (at the beginning of March), President Omar Al-Bashir announced that he would give the Egyptians 5,000 cows as a present," foreign ministry spokesman Khalid Moussa told AFP.
"We will start sending the cows on Monday. There will be a ceremony beforehand at Al-Qadaru in north Khartoum," before Sharaf departs for the southern capital Juba, Moussa add.
Sharaf, who was appointed by the army this month after president Hosni Mubarak’s ouster in February, heads an Egyptian delegation that includes the foreign, agriculture and irrigation ministers.
Their trip comes just three weeks after Al-Bashir became the first Arab leader to visit Cairo since Mubarak was toppled after weeks of protests.
Sudan is an important ally for Egypt in its efforts to block initiatives by upstream Nile countries that would allow them to implement irrigation and hydroelectricity projects without first seeking Cairo’s consent.
Both Egypt and Sudan have argued that their vital water supplies would be dangerously reduced if upstream countries are able to divert the river flow without multilateral consultation.
Egypt, meanwhile, has been a key ally of Sudan, and of Al-Bashir in particular, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes and genocide in Darfur.
Despite his cordial relationship with Mubarak, Al-Bashir was quick to congratulate the Egyptian people when they ousted the veteran leader last month, hailing the "triumph" of their revolution.