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Sudan says military will keep eastern borders secure

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Mohamed Osman al-Hussein inspects one of the newly built bridges in Al-Fashaga on 20 July 2021 (ST photo)July 20, 2021 (KHARTOUM) - The Sudanese army pledged, on Tuesday, to keep its forces in Al-Fashaga to protect civilians and build roads and bridges to link the border area with the rest of the country.

Lt-Gen Mohamed Osman al-Hussein, Sudanese army Chief of Staff paid a visit to the Western Sudan border area to perform the Eid al-Adha prayer with the troops deployed in the area to deter attacks by Ethiopian militiamen.

Speaking after the holiday prayer in Wad Koli, al-Hussein told the local residents he was happy to celebrate Eid a-Adha with them and to see them regaining the land after 25 years of occupation by Ethiopian militias.

"This land will not be desecrated again, and your sons in the armed forces will remain until it regains its full security and stability," he said.

After months of sporadic skirmishes during 2020 with the Ethiopian army-backed militiamen, the Sudanese army deployed its forces in Al-Fashaga in November 2020 and expelled farmers together with their militias.

Addis Ababa, in return, claimed the border area and called for talks on the border demarcation. Sudan rejected the claim pointing to the border demarcation agreements signed between the two countries in 1902 and 1975.

Since November, the Sudanese army deployed more troops and launched several projects to construct roads and bridges and basic services in the border area.

Al-Hussein, after the prayer, toured the bridges and roads under construction in Wad Koli and Wad Arood localities and inspected the troops deployed there.

The border dispute was discussed on Tuesday by the EU Envoy for the Horn of Africa Annette Weber, with the Ethiopian Foreign Minister Demeke Mekonnen.

During the meeting, Mekonnen called on the visiting EU diplomat to condemn the Sudanese "aggression", according to a statement released by the Ethiopian foreign ministry.

He further urged the EU to "call for a return to the status quo (before November 2020) to pave the way for a peaceful settlement of the border dispute," said the statement.

(ST)

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