Egyptian intellectuals, artists and activists have in recent days called on the Egyptian government to allow all Sudanese nationals fleeing the ongoing conflict in neighbouring Sudan to enter Egypt without a visa.
Currently, only Sudanese women and girls of any age, boys below 18 and men above 60 are allowed to enter Egypt without a visa.
Thousands posted the hashtag: "Call off the visa for the Sudanese [travelling] to Egypt" on social media platforms.
Prominent intellectual, talk show host and professor of political science Al Moataz Bellah Abdel-Fattah tweeted: "Welcome every Sudanese brother or sister to their homeland, Egypt. May God help you with your ordeal. Amen. My Egyptian friends, please welcome our Sudanese brothers and sisters."
The activists further called for putting into effect the "Egypt-Sudan Four Freedoms Rights Agreement" signed back in 2004. The joint deal entails "the freedom of movement, residence, work and property ownership" between the two countries.
An Egyptian Twitter user, Noha Alshafeey, wrote: "As an Egyptian citizen, I call for putting into for the ‘Four Freedom Rights’…Welcome our Sudanese brothers and sisters…our hearts and homes are open for you…you are among your people…Nobody can stop you [from being here]."
Most recently, Egyptian and pan-Arab media outlets reported, citing unnamed sources, that Egypt's border guards had allowed all Sudanese citizens to enter the country without a visa with no restrictions.
When contacted by The New Arab, a source at Sudan's embassy in Cairo denied these reports.
"The restrictions on the age and sex of Sudanese nationals travelling to Egypt remain the same unless the Egyptian side made changes to these rules, which we had not been officially informed of till this moment," the source told TNA on condition of anonymity.
Already home to about four million Sudanese citizens as per official accounts, Egypt has long been a favoured destination for refugees fleeing wars and economic hardships, either as a refuge or a transit country en route to Europe.
On the other hand, Sudanese families that are well-off commonly visit Egypt to seek healthcare services at private hospitals or send their children to study at Egyptian universities.