March 4, 2019 (JUBA) – Eritrea, Ethiopia and South Sudan leader Monday have agreed to bolster regional integration and work coordinate position on regional and international issues.

President Isaias Afwerki of Eritrea and Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia paid a one-day visit to Juba where they received by President Salva Kiir.

In a joint communiqué issued at the end of the visit, the three leaders pointed to the need to consolidate peace implementation in South Sudan and to “seek to coordinate the positions of the three countries on both Regional and Global issues”

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On the regional integration, the joint statement said they three leaders tasked their foreign ministers and other relevant government agencies “to work out the common projects that will facilitate the attainment of the goal of Regional Economic integration and shared prosperity”.

Citing the office of the Prime Minister, the Ethiopian News Agency said that the three leaders would hold talks on regional peace, economic ties and infrastructure development, and ways to develop joint capacities and working together in an integrated manner.

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The official agency stressed that the visit “comes in the framework of the regional efforts to consolidate economic and political integration of the East African region which has been initiated by Premier Abiy”.

In the Sudanese capital, the presidency did not issue a statement to explain why Abiy did not make a stop at Khartoum airport as announced on Sunday to meet President al-Bashir on his way to Juba.

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In return, the rumours spread that Abiy preferred to follow his new friend Afewerki and travel to Juba directly because the Eritrean president is not in good terms with al-Bashir.

Others say al-Bashir has become isolated and unacceptable by the regional leaders following the nationwide protests calling for his resignation.

(ST)

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