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Sudan, Ethiopia border committee to meet on 22 December

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Hamdok (R) received by Abiy Ahmed in Addis Ababa on 13 Dec 2020 (ST photo)December 20, 2020 (KHARTOUM) - Sudanese Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok and his Ethiopian counterpart Abiy Ahmed Sunday reiterated commitment to convene a meeting of the joint border committee next week.

The meeting took place on the sideline of the 38th Extra-Ordinary Summit of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in Djibouti.

The leaders of the East African bloc discussed ongoing regional tensions and the implementation of the peace agreement in South Sudan.

The Sudan News Agency said that Hamdok and Ahmed held a meeting in Djibouti to discuss "bilateral relations between the two countries, the situation in the region and the agenda of the IGAD summit."

"The meeting further touched on holding a meeting of the High Boundary Committee between the two countries on the 22 December," added the official agency.

During a short visit to Addis Ababa on 12 December, Hamdok and Abiy agreed to convene a meeting for the joint border committee following accusations by Ethiopian lawmakers accusing Sudanese army of supporting the TPLF rebels.

However, on December 15th, Ethiopian forces attacked a Sudanese force monitoring the border between the two countries, killing an officer and three soldiers.

As a result of this attack, General al-Burhan head of the Sovereign Council dispatched thousands of soldiers and militias to be deployed along the borderline with Ethiopia as defined in the May 1902 treaty.

It was not clear if the IGAD meeting discussed tension on the border between Sudan and Ethiopia.

The Sudanese Prime Minister in his speech pointed out that the regional bloc remains bound by the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of member states.

"But also (the meeting should) seek a peaceful settlement of disputes through dialogue in order to preserve regional peace, stability and security," he added.

"Our meeting here today is also an opportunity for us to deliberate on the emerging issues in our region, so I hope that the discussions that we will have will give us an opportunity to get a briefing from Dr Abiy Ahmed about the situation and recent developments in Ethiopia" he stressed referring to the situation in Tigray region.

Following the meeting, the Ethiopian prime minister posted a tweet where he thanked the IGAD leaders for understanding his measures against the rebel TPLF group.

"I express my deepest gratitude to IGAD leaders for understanding and acknowledging our law enforcement measures as legal and legitimate, as well as for expressing commitment to supporting Ethiopia," he wrote.

Ahmed had refused any regional or international mediation including from the IGAD to settle the dispute with the TPLF leaders.

The extraordinary meeting discussed the tensions between Somalia and Kenya, as the Somali President cut diplomatic ties Nairobi, after accusing the Kenyan government of interfering in his country internal affairs and lodged a complaint to Hamdok in his capacity as the Chair of IGAD on 13 December.

The IGAD leaders also discussed the slow implementation of the South Sudan peace agreement.

(ST)

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