KHARTOUM (Reuters) - Egypt and Sudan, which face cross-border threats from militias operating in Libya, agreed on Sunday to set up joint military patrols on their border, Sudan’s chief of staff said following talks between the countries’ defense ministers.
Libya, with which Egypt and Sudan have a joint border, has been riven by internal strife since Muammar Gaddafi was toppled in 2011 and a power vacuum has grown that has allowed rival militias and armed Islamist groups to grow.
“It was agreed to establish joint military patrols between the two countries’ borders, establish mechanisms to control the border and establish future joint forces on the border to combat terrorism, cross-border crimes, control the border and combat all manifestations of evasion,” Sudanese Chief of Staff Kamal Abdul Maarouf told reporters.
He said the two militaries would form a strategic partnership in all fields, especially intelligence and operational cooperation and training.
Joint investments were also agreed, Abdul Maarouf said, as well as allowing Egypt to establish agricultural and animal production projects in Sudan.
Relations between Egypt and Sudan have improved markedly over the past year despite persisting tensions over a Nile dam which Ethiopia is building. Egypt sees the project as a threat to its water supply but Sudan backs it because of its need for electricity.
The two countries have also long been in a standoff over the disputed “Halayeb Triangle,” which they both claim as their territory but Egypt controls. Sudan renewed a complaint at the U.N. in January demanding Egypt hand over control of the border area.
Reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz; Writing by Yousef Saba; Editing by Richard Balmforth