The Ministry of Defense (MoD) on Thursday announced that it had agreed with the government of Sudan to establish joint forces to tighten security along the common border of the two nations from any external aggression and potential threat.
While reporting the ministry's six-month performance report, the minister of defense, Siraj Fegessa, told MPs that the country is carrying out the policy of co-existence and development which had borne successful results. In implementing this policy, he said that the ministry has signed bilateral agreements with 14 nations in the field of military diplomacy.
"Giving priority to neighboring countries, we have made agreements with these nations in the region to prepare a joint plan aimed at ensuring and safeguarding our common borders save with Eritrea. The agreements include working jointly in the field of education, training, experience sharing, and on common issues to work together on peace and security demands in the region" he added.
Siraj, in his report, stressed that especially with the Sudan, the ministry had signed an agreement to promote the common interest of the two countries and to keep all areas across the border intact. "So we are working together to form a joint military force," he said.
Asked whether Ethiopia's armed forces were ready to protect the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) from any possible attack, Siraj told MPs, "I never believe there will be any direct attack on the dam."
"Cross-border attack is not as easy as it is reported by the media. But we don't just sit idle. As we always do, we are always prepared as far as our security is concerned."
We always stand alert to protect our sovereign border from any aggression or any attempt that will violate our territorial integrity by any external forces," Siraj added.
Speaking about the state of the national standby force, Siraj told lawmakers, "We have sufficient and well-qualified rearguard forces that are ready for duty and any form of deployment."
Siraj was asked by an MP how much ready the country was to defend itself from any form of biological or nuclear aggression, a question that made fellow MPs laugh.
"For us our main focus is not about establishing nuclear power or any biological weapon. We are rather committed primarily on fighting our worst enemy, which is poverty."
"Regarding the defense of any nuclear attack, my reaction is nothing" Siraj went on. "Even those countries who have nuclear warheads do not know how to defend themselves."