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Egypt, Sudan sign military cooperation agreement amid continued tensions with Ethiopia over Nile

Egyptian and Sudanese military chiefs met in Khartoum [Twitter]

Date of publication: 3 March, 2021

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Egypt and Sudan have held high-level talks and signed a military cooperation agreement amid continued tensions with Ethiopia over the Nile and clashes on the Sudanese-Ethiopian border.

Egypt and Sudan signed a military cooperation agreement on Tuesday amid continuing tensions with Ethiopia over the Nile River and clashes on the Sudanese-Ethiopian border.

The new agreement was signed in Khartoum by Muhammad Othman Al-Hussein, the Chief of Staff of the Sudanese military and his Egyptian counterpart, General Mohammed Farid, on the same day that the two countries’ foreign ministers met in Cairo.

Farid said that the two nations were witnessing an “unprecedented” level of military cooperation and wanted to achieve better coordination, Daily News Egypt reported.

“Solidarity is a strategic approach imposed by the regional and international environment… Egypt is ready to meet Sudan’s requests in all fields, including armament, joint training, technical support and securing joint borders,” he added.

Al-Hussein thanked Egypt for its “strong support to overcome the present difficulties.”

Both countries have engaged in prolonged negotiations with Ethiopia over the controversial Great Renaissance Dam (GERD) it has nearly completed on the Blue Nile river. Egypt in particular fears that the dam will have a catastrophic effect on its water supplies and agriculture.

In addition, Sudan has accused Ethiopia of being behind attacks on its forces in the Al-Fashaqa region near the border between the two countries.

Read also: Egypt and Ethiopia's Nile dam - Negotiating in the shadow of disaster?

In Cairo, Sudanese Foreign Minister Mariam Sadeq al-Mahdi and her Egyptian counterpart, Sameh Shoukry, accused Ethiopia of continuing to stall talks and said that more international powers should be involved in talks over the GERD.

They urged the UN, the US, and the EU to involve themselves in African Union led mediation efforts with Ethiopia and condemned Ethiopia’s decision to unilaterally fill the GERD for a second time.

The dam is located only eighteen kilometres from Ethiopia’s border with Sudan. In addition to Egypt’s fears about the dam reducing its water supply, Sudan says that the dam could cause floods and disrupt other dams on its territory.

Al-Mahdi also met Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi during her visit and said that he intended to visit Khartoum “within days”.

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