Eritrea’s President Isaias Afwerki is in Khartoum for talks with Sudanese officials, in a two-day visit taking place amid tensions between the governments of Ethiopia, a close ally of the Eritrean leader, and Sudan.
Accompanied by Foreign Minister Osman Saleh and presidential adviser Yemane Ghebreab, Isaias was received on Tuesday at the Sudanese capital’s international airport by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, head of Sudan’s ruling sovereign council.
The two leaders then began closed talks on cooperation and ways to strengthen ties between their countries, according to a statement from the council.
Eritrea’s information ministry said in a separate statement that Isaias and al-Burhan had “agreed to strengthen their efforts in the implementation of the
Agreement of Cooperation reached between the two countries in the political, economic, social, security, and military sectors”.
Isaias also held talks with Sudanese Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok in which they stressed the importance of regional integration in the Horn of Africa and “agreed to focus on a few, concrete, projects to consolidate Eritrea-Sudan bilateral ties within the regional framework”.
The visit comes after Sudan in February accused “a third party” of siding with Ethiopia in a decades-old border dispute with Sudan over contested farmlands in the fertile al-Fashaga region.
It was likely referring to Eritrea, which has deployed troops to Ethiopia’s Tigray region to fight alongside Ethiopian federal forces in the conflict there.
Following Sudan’s accusation, Eritrea dispatched its foreign minister to Sudan to assure Khartoum that Eritrea was not part of the dispute between Sudan and Ethiopia.
In late March, the United Nations reported that Eritrean forces were operating in the so-called al-Fashaga triangle.