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Sudan, Eritrea agree to foster bilateral cooperation

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Al-Burhan welcomes Afwerki at Khartoum airport on 4 May 2021 (ST photo)May 4, 2021 (KHARTOUM) - Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki agreed with Sudanese officials to consolidate bilateral relations and enhance joint cooperation.

On Tuesday, Afwerki has begun a two-day visit to Khartoum. He was accompanied by Foreign Minister Osman Saleh and Presidential Adviser Yemane Gebreab.

The visit takes place amid strained relations with the Ethiopian government, a close ally of the Eritrean President as they fought together against TPLF forces in the northern Ethiopia region of Tigray.

However, statements by Sudanese and Eritrean sides say that the talks have focused on bilateral relations between the two neighbours.

"The two sides agreed to strengthen the Sudanese-Eritrean relations to serves the common interests of the two brotherly peoples," reads a statement issued by the Sudanese presidency following a meeting between al-Burhan and Afwerki.

"The two leaders further agreed to strengthen their efforts in the implementation of the Agreement of Cooperation reached between the two countries in the political, economic, social, security, and military sectors," added a statement issued in Asmara by the Information Ministry.

The visiting leader also held a separate meeting with the Sudanese Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok where they agreed that "regional economic integration would pave the way to resolve political issues," according to a statement issued by the cabinet after the meeting.

For its part, the Eritrean Information Ministry said that Afwerki and Hamdok agreed to "focus on a few, concrete, projects to consolidate Eritrea-Sudan bilateral ties within the regional framework".

At the beginning of border tensions between Sudan and Ethiopia over the Fashaga area, Eritrean officials made frequent visits to Khartoum calling for restrain and to prevent further escalations.

Asmara welcomed the collapse of al-Bashir who had bad relations with Afwerki, however, they need to back the government of Abiy Ahmed to get rid of the TPLF and to get back the disputed border area of Badme.

Before Afwerki arrival to Khartoum, several reports in Khartoum spoke about a mediation he would undertake between Khartoum and Addis Ababa.

Sudan recently rejected a mediation by the United Arab Emirates dealing with the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam and the border dispute alike.

(ST)

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