NEIGHBOURS ETHIOPIA AND SUDAN PLEDGE TO BOOST TIES

ADDIS ABABA, April 5 (NNN-ENA) -- Neighbours Ethiopia and Sudan have expressed determination to boost their existing l ties to an even higher level following a meeting here between Prime Minister Hailemaraim and visiting Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.

Speaking to the media after their meeting here Tuesday, the two leaders stressed their strong commitment to deepening relations between the two countries. Hailemaraim said President al-Bashir's visit would cement the existing relationship between the two countries.

We want to expedite the projects we have started for our economic integration. As the president said, the co-operation in business and economy is a pillar for our integration, the premier added.

The construction of a railway project linking Ethiopia and Sudan will be launched soon, Hailemaraim said, adding that Ethiopia was eager to expand the use of Port Sudan on the Red Sea where Sudan has allocated space for the development of a dry port to serve the needs of landlocked Ethiopia.

The Prime Minister stated that the two countries had already started a power inter-connection project with a 500-KvA line to be built between Ethiopia's Great Renaissance Dam and Khartoum.

This kind of economic infrastructure integration is highly exemplary and a model for the Horn of Africa economic integration and we will continue to do so, the premier stressed.

Besides, Ethiopia and Sudan have also established a free economic zone on their common border to facilitate the trade connectivity of the two countries, he pointed out.

As for peace and stability, Hailemaraim said any security problem in Sudan is our problem and any security problem in Ethiopia is Sudan's problem. So we have come to the conclusion that the two countries cannot be separated by all means.

As both countries are members of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), an eight-nation Horn of Africa grouping, the leaders also discussed about peace and stability in South Sudan and Somalia.

Commenting on the significance of the visit, Hailemaraim commented: I go to Khartoum; the president comes to Addis Ababa. But this time it is different, this time it is a State visit to show that our countries are integrating closer and our strategic relationship is deepening.

President al-Bashir said Sudan is convinced there are so many aspects for a strong and continuous co-operation between the two countries. There is no limit to co-operation, whether in political, economic, commercial, cultural, and social and security aspects, he said, adding that "the sky is the limit".

We do confirm that the security of Ethiopia and Sudan is integrated. So we will work together to promote and enhance relations so as to meet the expectations of all Sudanese and Ethiopians," President al-Bashir stressed.

The Sudanese president also pointed out that there is a possibility that Ethiopia and Sudan could trade using their currencies.

Speaking about the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), he said: As far as the Renaissance Dam is concerned, all the aspects -- the environmental consequences, the economic and socio-economic consequences -- are all under focus now and it is the first time that the three countries (Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt) have come to an agreement. -- NNN-ENA

Source: NAM News Network

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