Khartoum and Cairo agree to strengthen military ties, protect joint borders

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Addis Ababa, 6 February 2014 (WIC) – The Sudanese defense minister Abdel-Rahim Mohammed Hussein, and his Egyptian counterpart, Abdel-Fattah Al-Sissi, have agreed to strengthen military ties and enhance security cooperation across the borders besides exchanging expertise between the two armies.

Sudanese defense minister Abdel-Rahim Mohammed Hussein (L) meeting with Egyptian counterpart, Abdel-Fattah Al-Sissi (R) in Caio, February 5, 2014 (MENA)

Hussein, who arrived in Cairo on Tuesday, is the first senior Sudanese official to visit Cairo since the ouster of president Mohamed Morsi last year.

The Sudanese defense minister renewed in press statements following his meeting with Sissi on Tuesday keenness of the two countries to develop relations, saying he sensed Sissi’s understanding and interest in the future of bilateral relations and implementation of joint projects.

The two ministers affirmed historical ties between the two peoples of the Nile valley.

Hussein congratulated Sissi, Egyptian people and government for the success of the referendum on the new constitution which represents the first step in Egypt’s future roadmap, stressing Sudan’s support for Egypt in order to fulfill demands of their people.

The two ministers also agreed to establish a joint force to secure borders between the two countries besides conducting joint training sessions, cooperating in the domain of armament, and exchanging military expertise.

Hussein added they also discussed regional issues relating to peace and security of the region besides bilateral ties.

“We would keep communicating with the Egyptian government and Sudan’s foreign minister, Ali Karti, will visit Cairo soon”, he said

Sissi, for his part, underscored historical ties between the two countries and peoples, hoping for more integration and cooperation in the coming period in order to meet aspirations of the two peoples.

Sudan’s ambassador to Cairo, Kamal Hassan Ali, pointed the two ministers agreed to move forward to activate bilateral ties and implement joint agreements.

He disclosed that Karti will visit Cairo next week to discuss several issues including political issues, joint committees, border crossings, and regional issues.

Meanwhile, Egypt’s foreign ministry spokesperson, Badr Abdel-Aati, denied that relations between Khartoum and Cairo is facing a crisis, describing ties between the two countries as eternal and blood relation.

“Sudan is a brotherly Arab country and we are proud to cooperate with it. There are many interests that tie the two countries together and the best proof for the importance of Sudan to Egypt is that it was the first foreign country to be visited by Egypt’s foreign minister, Nabil Fahmy”, he added

He expressed hope that cooperation agreements between the two countries be implemented, pointing that no date has been determined yet for the visit of Sudan’s foreign minister to Cairo.

Sudan’s Islamist government has appeared uncomfortable with the developments in Egypt given the common ideology they shared with Morsi and the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) which brought him to power.

However, Khartoum insisted that it is neutral to the change in Egypt and that it is an internal matter.

Furthermore, Cairo was irked by Khartoum’s support of Ethiopia’s plan to build the Renaissance dam which Egypt argues will impact its Nile water share needed for its population of 90 million.

The issue of the disputed border region of Halayeb flared up with officials in Khartoum asserting that it is a Sudanese territory despite Egyptian "occupation" of it. (ST)

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