BY TESFANEWS *
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir said on Thursday that his country was reopening its Eastern border with Eritrea, after he unilaterally closed it.
Sudan closed the border in early January, 2018 and deployed thousands of troops to protect the region from alleged Eritrea and Egypt threat.
“Here from Kassala, I announce that we are opening the border with Eritrea because they are our brothers and our people. Politics will not divide us,” Bashir said in televised remarks before scores of supporters in the town of Kassala.
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Sudan has witnessed nationwide protests for six week, while the ruling party has pushed for constitutional amendments to pave the way for President Bashir’s nomination for a third term.
As Bashir was speaking in the remote town, the Sudanese Professionals’ Association, a union that has led calls for demonstrations against his rule, called for fresh protests across several Sudanese cities on Thursday afternoon.
Sudan has been rocked by near-daily anti-government protests since Dec. 19 after a government’s decision to triple the price of bread.
Rights groups say at least 45 people have been killed. The government puts the death toll at 30.
Bashir struck a defiant tone in Kassala on Thursday about the protests.
“Changing the government and changing the president will not be through WhatsApp or Facebook, but through the ballot box,” he said.
“This is our pledge and commitment before the Sudanese people…The decision is your right, the masses of the Sudanese people.”
President Bashir, in power since 1989, recently accused news outlets of inflating the sizes of the ongoing protests against his regime.
#Sudan says it’s reopening its borders with #Eritrea a year after it closed them in coordination with TPLF. It said then that step would lead to starvation in Eritrea and bring down the gov’t. Today’s statement comes in the wake of crisis and protests shaking Bashir ‘s regime
— EritreanViews (@EritreanViews) January 31, 2019