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Sudan’s Bashir denies border dispute with Ethiopia, says they want regional integration

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President Omer al-Bashir and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn hold a press conference on 17 August 2017 (SUNA Photo)

August 17, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - Sudanese President Omer al-Bashir said there no border dispute with Ethiopia, adding that the two countries, adding the two countries are working to enhance bilateral relation and to achieve regional integration.

Sudanese President Omer al-Bashir said there no border dispute with Ethiopia, stressing there is no dispute between the two countries over the border demarcation line.

"There is a full agreement on the demarcation of the border, and there is no disagreement over the terms of reference for the demarcation of the border between the two countries," Bashir told a joint press conference in Khartoum with the Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn who ended a three-day visit to Sudan on Thursday.

"All what remains is to place the boundary markers," he said pointing that there is a high-level mechanism he chairs jointly with the Ethiopian Prime Minister, in addition to ministerial, technical, security and regional mechanisms to protect the border between the two countries.

Ethiopian and Sudanese farmers from two sides of the border used to dispute the ownership of land in Al-Fashaga area located in the southeastern part of Sudan’s eastern state of Gedaref.

In the past years, Sudanese authorities accused Ethiopia of controlling more than a million acres of Sudanese agricultural land in the area of Al-Fashaga, saying the area has been completely isolated from Sudan.

Al-Fashaga covers an area of about 250 square kilometres and it has about 600.000 acres of fertile lands. Also, there are river systems flowing across the area including Atbara, Setait and Baslam rivers.

The Sudanese president said two countries strongly determined to develop bilateral relations and to reach an integration in all fields, pointing that Desalegn’s visit comes within the framework of continuous consultation between the two countries to develop cooperation and consider issues of common concern.

The Sudanese president further said all the conditions are gathered to establish "Horn of Africa Economic Organization " to promote the interests of the region and meet the aspirations and desires of its people and leaders".

The Horn of Africa countries during the recent years were marginalized within the African Union and also they receive a small portion from the international assistance for the economic development of Africa.

This situation is discussed by the Sudanese and Ethiopian officials who seriously consider the creation of an economic zone and to open the borders. However, Eritrea with its border conflict with Ethiopia remains an obstacle that the Khartoum and Addis Ababa may put aside for the time being.

In a lecture he gave a Khartoum on Thursday, the Ethiopian premier called for the creation of an economic market including, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia Somalia and Sudan.

For his part, Desalegn described relations between his country and Sudan as "advanced". He further added that the two countries are working in full coordination on common issues and regional issues through the IGAD.

Regarding the issue of the Renaissance Dam, he announced that a meeting would be held next week at the technical level of the ministers of the two countries and Egypt.

On the situation in South Sudan, he said efforts continue to resolve the armed conflict between rival factions through the IGAD, pointing to the contacts he and the Sudanese president are conducting with the South Sudanese leaders to enforce the peace agreement to prevent the collapse of the South Sudan.

(ST)

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