Egypt and Sudan have signed a military cooperation agreement. The joint defense treaty was signed earlier today in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, by the Egyptian and Sudanese chiefs of staff, The National reports.
This comes amid renewed tensions between the North African countries and Ethiopia over the latter’s plans to go ahead with the second phase of filling the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) across the Nile River, which could gravely undermine water security in downstream states Egypt and Sudan and poses an existential threat for both nations.
The military cooperation deal was reached as Sudanese Foreign Affairs Minister Dr. Maryam Al Sadiq Al Mahdi and her Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry met in Cairo to discuss the latest developments regarding the GERD crisis, calling Ethiopia’s decision to proceed with second filling a “unilateral act,” according to Arab News.
Shoukry and Al Mahdi also called for the formation of an international committee to mediate between the downstream countries and Ethiopia, Al Ahram Online reports. The officials added that said committee should include representatives from the African Union, the United Nations, the United States, and the European Union.
The military cooperation agreement comes at a time when Sudan is embroiled in an armed conflict with Ethiopia over territorial disputes. The border dispute erupted last year after the Sudanese military launched a campaign to seize control of farmlands settled by Ethiopian citizens since the 1950s, according to the National. The armed conflict between the two countries has resulted in several deadly hostilities.
Commenting on the deal, Sudan’s Chief of Staff stated that the Egyptian Armed Forces “for their good intentions, generous assistance and their strong support to overcome the present difficulties,” adding that “the aim of the agreement is to achieve national security for the two countries, and to build armed forces full of experience and knowledge,” according to Egypt Independent.
His Egyptian counterpart, Lieutenant General Mohammed Farid Hegazy, said that Egypt “seeks to consolidate ties and relations with Sudan in all fields, especially military and security fields,” adding that “solidarity is a strategic approach imposed by the regional and international environment.”
Hegazy also stated that “the resources, strong will and resolve are there to implement what we have agreed on to counter any emergency situations.” He added that “Egypt is ready to meet Sudan’s requests in all fields, including armament, joint training, technical support and securing joint borders.”