Khartoum: The leaders of Egypt and Sudan have agreed to mend ties, frayed by repeated failures to reach a deal over an upstream Nile dam being built by Ethiopia, and the revival of a longstanding dispute over a border territory held by Cairo and claimed by Khartoum.

In a two-day visit to Sudan, Egyptian President Abdul-Fattah Al Sissi met with President Omar Al Bashir as well as other Sudanese officials. They vowed to set differences aside and bolster relations, in what appears to be Egypt’s latest bid to thaw the frosty relations with its southern neighbour.

“Of all my foreign visits to neighboring and friendly countries, my visit to Sudan has a special status and a high priority,” Al Sissi said in a press conference on Thursday. He also said recent talks between both sides had overcome several difficulties. Similarly, Al Bashir said both countries had “lost several years” in disagreements over various issues but they have now planned to “remove all the obstacles” hampering cooperation.

In recent years, Egypt has expressed increasing alarm over a soon-to-be-completed dam project in Ethiopia. Egypt fears the dam could reduce its share of the Nile which serves as a lifeline for the country’s 100 million people. Previous attempts at resolving the lasting dispute have failed. Egypt has been further vexed by Sudan siding with Ethiopia in the dispute, perhaps in the hopes of securing cheap electricity from the new hydroelectric project.