Ethiopia and Sudan have agreed to establish a joint miliatry force to protect the Grand Ethiopia Renaissance Dam (GERD) project, the Middle East Monitor reports.

The agreement was signed late last week at the end of the Ethiopian-Sudanese Military Commission’s work in Addis Ababa. The Chief of Staff of both countries were present at the event.

Sudan’s Kamal Abdul-Marouf Al-Mahi and Ethiopia’s Samora Yunus also signed a defense protocol and a number of issues of common concern.

The two sides stressed “the need to abide by the results achieved and the readiness for full solidarity in securing the border, the exchange of information and control of rampant groups, combating smuggling, human trafficking, arms trade, drugs and transient crimes.”

They also agreed to “activate forces … to maintain security and stability, as well as cooperation in the fields of joint training and exchange of experiences.”

Meanwhile Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed concludes his two-day visit to Khartoum today. He has held meetings with President Al-Bashir and will also meet other high ranking officials in the area of security, trade and bilateral cooperation.

The GERD project is built about 20 kilometers from Sudan’s border. Its construction has been at the heart of a diplomatic back and forth between Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt.

Whiles Egypt says the dam will affect its annual share of the Nile water, Ethiopia insists that it will not be affected. The dam when completed will make Ethiopia a leading producer of power in the East African region.

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