By Tesfa-Alem Tekle
February 18, 2014 (ADDIS ABABA) – Sudanese president, Omer Hassan al-Bashir, on Wednesday vowed to further strengthen bilateral ties, especially economic ties with neighbouring Ethiopia.
Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir waves to the crowd during a rally with Sufi supporters in Hajj Yusuf at Khartoum district December 27, 2014 ( REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah)
Bashir made the remarks this morning while delivering solidarity message at the celebrations held at Ethiopia’s northern city of Mekele to mark the 40th anniversary of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).
“Our keenness to participate in this anniversary as any other events in Ethiopia is the confirmation of the particular relationships between Ethiopia and Sudan,” said Bashir.
The Sudanese president said his country is determined to promote the existing relations within the shared strategic vision the two neighbours stride together in order to open wide horizons for joint cooperation in all fields.
Bashir said Khartoum will aggressively engage to transform the large shared borders of Ethiopia and Sudan into a comprehensive economic integration.
As well as energy linkages, with Sudan’s oil and Ethiopia’s hydro-power processed electricity exchange, the two countries currently have an ongoing joint projects aimed to link their borders with roads and rail ways.
The two countries are also working on creating a free zone area along their shared borders to facilitate movement of people, commodities and boost trade.
Hundreds of thousands of Ethiopians most ethnic Tigrians on Wednesday gathered in Tigray regional capital, Mekelle, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).
TPLF was founded in 1974 after few Tigrian students raised armed struggle against the then military junta known as the Derg, which is responsible for extra-judicial killings of tens of thousands people mainly ethnic Tigrians.
Based in Tigray region, TPLF now is the dominant section of the country’s ruling political coalition known as Ethiopia Peoples revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF).
Along with Ethiopian prime minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, other African leaders attending the anniversary were also Paul Kagame of Rwanda and Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud.
Paul Kagame of Rwanda commended Ethiopia’s success in maintaining national unity and said the legacy would remain exemplary for continental solidarity.
“You never wavered in your commitment to build a robust national unity in a nation with wide diversity,” he said.
President Hassan Sheik Mohamed of Somalia to his side hailed Ethiopia as a role model for Africa in terms of achieving economic progress, democracy and cohesion of the country’s diverse society.
“This is not great achievement for Ethiopia only but for the continent as well,” he said.
Mohamed highly appreciated Ethiopia for the continuous support it is extending for Somalia to bring the war ravaged nation stand back to its feet.
“The role of Ethiopia in its state and nation building is a model for Africa particularly for Somalia,” he stressed.
“With the continued support from Africans, IGAD and particularly Ethiopia, We want to make sure that we build a Somalia in peace within Somalia, in peace within its neighbours and the rest of the world,” he added.
Other dignitaries attending the anniversary were also Djiboutian Prime Minister Kamil Abdelkadir Mohamed, Ugandan Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda, and African Union Commission Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
Representatives of the European Union, US, China and South Korea were also in attendance.