December 18, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan’s Defence Minister Awad Ibn Ouf has called on Eritrea to activate its membership at the army’s Chiefs-of-Staff body of the East African Standby Force (ESAF).
Speaking to the ESAF meeting on Sunday in Khartoum, Ibn Ouf praised the recent rapprochement between Eritrea and Ethiopia, saying it contributes to enhancing security and stability in the region.
Also, he renewed Sudan’s keenness to sustain security and stability in East Africa and the continent in general, pointing to the various challenges facing the region.
The Sudanese Defence Minister further praised the role played by the ESAF during the previous years, saying it has become the first force in Africa ready to carry out any mission in the region.
The call of the Sudanese military official come days after a meeting in Riyadh of seven countries bordering the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Djibouti, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen and Jordan to discuss a Saudi initiative to establish a regional alliance for the Red Sea countries.
However, it was noticed that Eritrea, which has several islands in the Red Sea and a mainland coastline of 1,150-kilometres, was absent from the meeting.
Relations between Sudan and Eritrea are strained since last January following accusations by Khartoum that Asmara was behind preparations of attacks in Kassala State by rebel groups. But Asmara denied the allegations.
The ESAF experts on Thursday have started a three-day meeting in Khartoum.
EASF is one of the five continent’s regional multidimensional force capabilities including military, police and civilian components consisting of 10 east African countries.
The regional organization is mandated to enhance peace and security in the volatile east African region.
The regional force was established following decisions made by the AU summit held in Ethiopia in 2004.