The Hala'ib Triangle is a small patch of land located between Egypt and Sudan. In 1899 the British, who ruled Egypt as a 'protectorate' and thus by extension Egyptian-Ottoman controlled Sudan, set the borders between the two countries along the 22nd parallel. But in 1902 they backpedalled a little and decided that the Hala'ib Triangle, north of the parallel, should be kept as an 'administrative boundary' mainly because it was closer to Khartoum than Cairo and would ultimately fall under the jurisdiction of the British Governor in Khartoum.
In the wake of independence the territory fell under Sudanese control although both countries claimed it. Egyptian president Gamal Abdul Nasser sent his troops in 1958 but soon withdrew them, and there the matter rested until 1992 when oil was discovered off-shore and the Sudanese granted exploration rights to a Canadian company. Egypt protested. In January 2000, Sudanese president Omar Bashir withdrew his army whereupon the Egyptian army moved in, where they have been ever since. However in 2004 Bashir claimed that he had not relinquished his claim by removing the army and insisted that the territory still belonged to Sudan. The Eastern Front who claim the territory is Sudanese because it is inhabited largely by the Beja tribe who constitute the principal tribal group in Sudan's eastern coast and hills, have asked that sovereignty be determined by international arbitration. Oil reserves having again been discovered this time on-shore, are the reason the two countries both now want what was heretofore a windswept, isolated stretch of sand.