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Senior Sudanese official to visit Eritrea soon for normalization talks: sources

November 6, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - The Sudanese Presidential Assistant Faisal Hassan Ibrahim would visit Asmara soon to discuss normalization of bilateral relations between Sudan and Eritrea, an informed source told Sudan Tribune on Tuesday

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Eritrean President Issaias Afeworki(R), seen here in March 2007 with Sudanese President Omer al-Beshir

n January 2018, Sudan accused Eritrea of supporting rebel groups and closed the border after the deployment of thousands of troops. Four months later, Asmara accused Sudan, Ethiopia and Qatar of supporting armed opposition groups to overthrow President Isaias Afewerki’s government.

But in July, Ethiopia and Eritrea reconciled and normalized relations between the two neighbouring countries.

An informed source told Sudan Tribune that contacts between the two countries have been activated during the previous period, disclosing that Eritrea’s Ambassador to Khartoum has recently met with several Sudanese officials.

He pointed out that the Eritrean Ambassador has conveyed to the Sudanese officials President Isaias Afewerki’s queries about the reasons that led to the tensions and whether or not there were other parties that have intervened to spoil relations between the two countries.

The same source added the Sudanese officials told the Eritrean envoy that the deployment of troops on the border last January was a mere preventive measure to respond to any potential attack on the country.

It is noteworthy that Presidential Assistant Musa Mohamed Ahmed last week denied reports that he has engaged in talks with the Eritrean officials to ease tensions between the two countries during a recent visit to Asmara, saying he travelled to Eritrea to spend his annual holidays with his family.

However, the source underlined that Ahmed’s visit to Asmara “wasn’t necessarily a private affair”.

The same source stressed that Presidential Assistant Faisal Hassan Ibrahim is preparing to visit Asmara soon to normalize relations”.

Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party (NCP) last June reiterated its keenness to develop a constructive relationship with neighbouring Eritrea.

Last September the IGAD Council of Minister said it would discuss the normalization of relations between Djibouti and Eritrea; and between Eritrea and Sudan. However, the east African bloc did not make any mention to the matter in it its statement after the meeting of 12 September.

(ST)