Parliamentary speaker Ali Abdul Aal met with a group of Nubian representatives to discuss their ongoing demands to return to their ancestral lands on Sunday, according to state media. This marks the protest leader’s second meeting with the speaker.
In the meeting, Abdul Aal made the decision to form a committee dedicated to Article 236 and its activation. This constitutional article stipulates: “The state shall work to implement projects to return the residents of Nubia to their original territories and develop such territories within 10 years, as regulated by law.”
A delegation from the parliament’s Coordination Committee pledged to stop the sale of Nubian lands and to intervene so as to modify the rules and regulations of Decree No. 444, of 2014. This decree designates a large stretch of land in Nubia as a restricted military zone, which restricts the Nubian people from accessing 17 of their villages.
However, Abdul Aal said that as the decree was not presented to parliament, but rather is a sovereign decision, it cannot be voted on. Furthermore, it is connected to national security.
Prime Minister Sherif Ismail met with 13 representatives from the Nubian protesters on Wednesday to discuss the Nubian’s demand. Abdul Aal and members of parliament, including Nubian MP Yassin Abdel Sabour, attended the meeting.
During the meeting, both sides agreed to suspend the protests or any intended escalation for one month from the meeting date to give the government a chance to fulfil the Nubians’ demands, according to state-run Al-Ahram.
After seven hours of discussions at the cabinet headquarters, the prime minister decided to form a committee from the cabinet that will review maps and coordinates of the areas of the disputed village Khor Qindi.
This will be followed by the division of the border in preparation to remove the village from the plans of the 1.5m acre reclamation project affiliated to the Egyptian Countryside Development Company, which threatened to encroach on the Nubians’ ancestral lands.
The Nubian people have little faith in the authorities that claim to work for their benefit, as years of false promises have left them disillusioned. Many Nubians have expressed their worries and doubts about the outcome of the cabinet meeting on Monday
So far, the state has been dealing with Nubian crisis by dolling out pledges with nothing to show for it. Nubians have been vowing to escalate if their case is not solved.
On 19 November, a caravan of 25 microbuses carrying dozens of Nubians from different governorates across the country headed for the disputed villages. When they found that security forces had blocked the road, they decided to protest on Abu Simbel road in south Aswan.
Nubians are demanding that their land be excluded from the project via presidential decree. State media has often portrayed the Nubian people as calling for division in society and separation from Egypt. The legitimacy of their issues has been downplayed and diminished throughout the last century and continues today.
The governmental project to reclaim 1.5 acres of land sparked the ire of the Nubian people, as two Nubian villages in Aswan would be sold for investments under this project. Toshka and Khor Qindi villages are an extension of land that was flooded. According to state media, both villages comprise 12 acres.