Abiy Ahmed has secured the word of Sudanese president for the release of Ethiopian Prisoners in Sudan but nothing is known so far if there was any discussion regarding land given to Sudan under TPLF
Sudan says it will release Ethiopian prisoners in the country. The decision came after Prime minister Abiy Ahmed’s request during his two days official visit to Sudan.
President Omar Hassan al-Bashir apparently gave presidential order for the release of Ethiopian prisoners in different parts of his country.
In 2017, Sudan caused a huge outcry from Ethiopian human rights activists when Sudanese court ruled 65 Ethiopians to get 40 lashes for staging protest at the Ethiopian Embassy in Khartoum.
Ethiopian state media reported that prime minister Abiy Ahmed thanked the Sudanese president for the promise to release Ethiopian prisoners.
However, the report did not disclose the number of prisoners to be released or when they are going to be released.
In the past, there have been cases when Ethiopian political refugees were either deported back to Ethiopia or arrested in Sudan.
Ethiopia has become one of the leading migrant producing country as much as it has become a host to refugees from South Sudan and Eritrea. And migration in the case of Ethiopia has a lot to do not just with economic hardship in the country, which some analysts see as an outcome of incompetent administration but also political repression and sense of losing the dignity of being a citizen, which is not the case for pro-regime Ethiopians, especially from Tigray region.
Apart from prisoners deal on Ethiopian prisoners, prime minister Abiy Ahmed also reportedly reached agreement with Sudanese president al-Bahisr on matters related to port Sudan. As per the agreement, according to Ethiopian state media and the ruling party media report, Ethiopia to have a share in Port Sudan. And the two countries are to develop infrastructure of the port and administer it cooperatively. A few months ago, Sudan gave Turkey a military base over Suakin, something that Sudan denies vehemently. The administration in Ethiopia has now three deals for port partnership with three neighboring countries ; Djibouti, Somaliland and Sudan. The deal with Somaliland caused stiff resistance from Mogadishu.
Workeneh Gebeyehu, Ethiopia’s foreign affairs minister, is cited,by state media, as saying that Ethiopia and Sudan are to embark on the joint port development project in no time. The two countries have also agreed to create a border area conducive for commerce for people in the border area from both countries.
It is to be remembered that Ethiopians along the Sudanese border have been accusing the TPLF administration for giving out a large tract of land to Sudan and Prime minister Abiy Ahmed was asked about it when he was visiting Gonder some time last week.
While Abiy Ahmed will get some credit for raising the issue of Ethiopian prisoners in Sudan, which is unusual from the experience in the last twenty seven years, and for not returning to Ethiopia empty handed, the border issue does not seem to be something that Ethiopians take lightly.
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