KHARTOUM - Sudan and Ethiopia signed an agreement Tuesday to deploy joint forces along their border to prevent weapons smuggling and sporadic skirmishes between armed groups from both sides, state media said.
The setting up of a joint border protection force comes after a series of high-level talks between officials from the neighboring countries over several months.
"The Sudanese and Ethiopian defense ministries signed today a protocol to deploy joint troops along the border to control smuggling, illegal immigration and cross-border crimes," Sudan's official SUNA news agency reported.
"The joint force will secure the border and the people living along the frontier on both the sides," General Kamal Abdelmarouf, chief of staff of Sudan's army, said during the signing ceremony, according to SUNA.
Security officers from both countries regularly complain about weapons smuggling and cross-border crimes along the frontier.
Khartoum and Addis Ababa share close diplomatic ties, but issues concerning some border areas have been a source of tension between the two.
Sudanese farmers often accuse their Ethiopian counterparts of occupying vast agricultural lands in some areas along the Sudanese border state of Gadaref.
The Sudanese farmers also allege that Ethiopian rebels are involved in several cross-border crimes inside Sudanese territory.
Ethiopian media, meanwhile, claims that on several occasions weapons allegedly smuggled from Sudan into Ethiopia have been caught by security forces inside Ethiopian territory.