February 14, 2017 (KHARTOUM) – The 18th session of the conference on development of the joint Sudanese-Ethiopian borders will be held on Thursday in Mekelle, capital of Ethiopia’s Tigray region, said governor of Gadaref State.
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A road leading to Ethiopia-Sudan border (Photo Jamminglobal.com)
The two-day conference, which is held alternately between Sudan and Ethiopian regions, will discuss issues pertaining to farming in the joint borders, trade exchange and smuggling.
Governor of Gadaref State Mirghani Salih Sid Ahmed told the official news agency SUNA, that the conference would be held with the participation of the border states of Gadaref, Blue Nile, Sennar and Kassala from the Sudanese side and Benishangul-Gumuz and Amhara regions from the Ethiopian side.
He pointed that his state has completed its arrangements to participate in the conference, saying they would seek to retrieve the agricultural lands confiscated by Ethiopian farmers..
According to the governor, Gadaref state delegation will focus on issues to promote bilateral ties between the two countries besides ways to enhance trade exchange particularly after establishing the free-trade zone at Al-Galabat border area.
Sid Ahmed added that their delegation would raise the issue of preventing Ethiopian farmers from growing Sudanese lands according to the 2004 agreement between the two countries.
Farmers from two sides of the border between Sudan and Ethiopia used to dispute the ownership of land in the Al-Fashaga area located in the south-eastern part of Sudan’s eastern state of Gedaref.
Al-Fashaga covers an area of about 250 square kilometers and it has about 600.000 acres of fertile lands. Also there are river systems flowing across the area including Atbara, Setait and Baslam rivers.
Sudan and Ethiopia agreed in 2004 to demarcate the 1,600 km-long border after tension over the distribution of disputed land to Ethiopian farmers following the intervention of the Ethiopian army to clear some Sudanese villages on the border.
However, the Ethiopian opposition accuses the ruling party of abandoning Ethiopian territory to Sudan.
Also, the border between the two countries is considered a major passageway for illegal migrants and human trafficking activities.
Ethiopia and Sudan are engaged more and more in joint economic projects particularly on the border areas for the benefit of the people from the two sides.
In the past, Sudan worked for a tripartite regional cooperation including Eritrea but the border conflict between Asmara and Addis Ababa prevents for the time being such realization.