NAIROBI, Jun 4 – Kenya and its northern neighbour Ethiopia have signed several agreements including on measures to address security issues on their common border, a statement said Friday.
The measures were agreed at a four-day ministerial-level meeting in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.
The meeting “made commitment for the enhancement of security along common borders by addressing the challenges created by anti-peace elements, competition for scarce resources and the proliferation of small arms,” the statement said.
The two countries also “addressed the issue of shared trans-boundary resources and their utilisation, especially shared waters, taking into account the guiding principles of equitable use and ensuring no significant harm to downstream areas and peoples.”
Tension has been running high in the border area for the past month after Ethiopian armed men attacked a rival ethnic Turkana community in a remote border region of north Kenya, killing at least 38 people.
One factor often said to have contributed to inter-tribal clashes in the region is the gradual drying up of the 250-kilometre (155-mile) long Lake Turkana.
This has led to fish migrating north and in turn to Turkana fishermen taking their boats further north where they clash with Merile fishermen from Ethiopia competing for the same catch.
Kenya and Ethiopia also agreed to beef up bilateral links, including “in electricity, roads, railways, information communication and technology as well as civil aviation.”
Other agreements called for more bilateral trade and for cooperation on technical assistance and agriculture.