Welcoming an Eritrean delegation led by caretaker Foreign Minister Mohamed Omar, Sudanese Foreign Minister Lam Akol Ajawin said on Monday his government "welcomes and positively responds to the Eritrean bid for improving the ties between our two countries".

Ajawin urged the two sides to "engage in positive official talks to agree on what the two countries can do together" towards an improvement of bilateral relations.

Relations between Khartoum and Asmara have been tense for years with each side claiming the other supports rebel groups on the other's territory. Their common border has been closed since 2002.

"[Sudanese government] welcomes and positively responds to the Eritrean bid for improving the ties between our two countries"

Lam Akol Ajawin, 
Sudanese Foreign Minister

Sudan has accused Eritrea of assisting the Eastern Front, an eastern rebel movement fighting to end years of alleged marginalisation by successive Islamic governments in Khartoum.

The strains erupted in June when Sudan accused Eritrea of giving military support to the Eastern Front, while Eritrea, for its part, lashed out at Sudan for abusing human rights in Darfur and elsewhere.

However Mohamed Omar expressed pleasure at his welcome in Sudan, which he said "reflects a good response to the Eritrean initiative" aimed at "restoring and moving our bilateral relations forward in addition to achieving stability in the region".