12/18 OT: Bir Tawil

Bir Tawil From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Bir Tawil
Neither Egypt nor Sudan claim Bir Tawil, which is located between the two countries. Bir Tawil Location between Egypt and Sudan
Coordinates: 21°52′14″N 33°44′14″ECoordinates: 21°52′14″N 33°44′14″E
Country None
• Total 800 sq mi (2,060 km2)
• Total 0
• Density 0/sq mi (0/km2)
Time zone EST (UTC+2)
• Summer (DST) +3 (UTC)

Bir Tawil or Bi'r Tawīl (Arabic: بير طويل‎ Bīr Ṭawīl or بئر طويل Bi’r Ṭawīl; meaning "tall water well") is a 2,060 km2 (795 sq mi) area along the border between Egypt and Sudan, which is claimed by neither country. When spoken of in association with the neighboring Hala'ib Triangle, it is sometimes referred to as the Bir Tawil Triangle, despite the area's quadrilateral shape; the two "triangles" border at a quadripoint. The area is 46 kilometres (29 mi) long (east/west) in the south, and 95 kilometres (59 mi) long in the north, and ranges from 26 kilometres (16 mi) to 31 kilometres (19 mi) wide (north/south), and 2,060 km2 (795 sq mi) in size.

Its status as unclaimed territory results from a discrepancy between the straight political boundary between Egypt and Sudan established in 1899, and the irregular administrative boundary established in 1902. Egypt asserts the political boundary, and Sudan asserts the administrative boundary, with the result that the Hala'ib Triangle is claimed by both, and Bir Tawil by neither.




A 1960 U.S. Army Corps of Engineerstopographic map. The Bir Tawil area is at the top Simplified map showing Egypt's claim (yellow and green), Sudan's claim (blue and green), the Hala'ib Triangle (green) and Bir Tawil (white).

In 1899, when the United Kingdom held hegemony in the area, the Anglo-Egyptian Condominium Agreement for Sudan set the border between the territories at the 22nd parallel. However, in 1902 the UK drew a separate "administrative boundary", intended to reflect the actual use of the land by the tribes in the region. Bir Tawil was grazing land used by the Ababda tribe based near Aswan, and thus was placed under Egyptian administration from Cairo. Similarly, the Hala'ib Triangle to the northeast was placed under the British governor of Sudan, because its inhabitants were culturally closer to Khartoum.

Egypt claims the original border from 1899, the 22nd parallel, which would place the Hala'ib Triangle within Egypt and the Bir Tawil area within Sudan. Sudan however claims the administrative border of 1902, which would put Hala'ib within Sudan, and Bir Tawil within Egypt. As a result, both states claim the Hala'ib Triangle and neither claims the much less valuable Bir Tawil area, which is only a tenth the size, and has no permanent settlements or access to the sea. There is no basis in international law for either Sudan or Egypt to claim both territories, and both nations are unwilling to cede Hala'ib. With no third state claiming the neglected area, Bir Tawil is one of the few [1] land areas of the world which is not claimed by any recognised state. Egypt arguably still administers the territory, but it is not marked as Egyptian on government maps.[2][3]


In the north of the area is the mountain Jabal Tawil (جبل طويل in Arabic, located at 21°57′56″N 33°48′05″E), with a height of 459 meters (1506 ft). In the east is Jabal Ḩajar az Zarqā', with a height of 662 meters (2172 ft).

In the south is the Wadi Tawil (وادي طويل in Arabic, also called Khawr Abū Bard, located at 21°49′25″N 33°43′42″E).

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