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Sanaa Summit Pledges Peace, Security, Regional Cooperation


The leaders of Yemen, Sudan, and Ethiopia, with Somalia as an observer, wrapped up their summit in Sudan with pledges to establish peace and security in the area.

Included on the agenda of the Sanaa Grouping's two-day summit was how to patch up rocky relationships amongst countries in the region.

A spokesman for Sudan's foreign ministry, Mohamed Ahmed Abdel Gaffar, told VOA Tuesday Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh held discussions on how to resolve tensions among Sudan, Eritrea, and Ethiopia.

"There is a general initiative to normalize relations between Sudan and Eritrea on one side and between Ethiopia and Eritrea from the other side,” said Mr. Saleh. “This is [was] discussed between the three heads of state and governments in a closed session."

Sudan accuses Eritrea of supporting and hosting Sudan's rebel groups, while Eritrea claims that Sudan is trying to export Islamic fundamentalism into Eritrea.

Meanwhile, Ethiopia and Eritrea are still deadlocked over the exact location of their border, which was the cause of a brutal war between the two countries several years ago.

Mr. Gaffar said Sudan and Ethiopia supports the peace efforts of the Yemeni president and the Sanaa Grouping.

This is the third summit of the Sanaa Grouping of Red Sea and Horn of Africa Nations, whose membership consists of Yemen, Ethiopia, and Sudan. Yemen spearheaded the group two years ago to bring stability and political and economic cooperation to the area.

During this summit, the three leaders signed five memorandums of understanding on political, economic, and security matters.

“We are going to combat terrorism and we are going to control illegal trade across borders,” Mr. Gaffar explained. “[There is] cooperation between the countries in maritime affairs and between the chambers of commerce also."

At the summit, Yemeni President Saleh called on Eritrea, Somalia, and Djibouti to join the Sanaa Grouping as a way of addressing regional tensions and bringing about reconciliation and peace.

Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed was invited to the summit. Presidential spokesman Yusuf Baribari said President Yusuf and the other leaders discussed Somalia's security situation and the government's return to the country from Kenya.

He said Somalia is looking forward to joining the Sanaa Grouping.

"We are very much interrelated. The lawlessness situation in Somalia negatively affected the entire region," said Mr. Baribari.

Mr. Baribari said the grouping is supportive of his country's peace process.

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