Ethiopia says the border issue with Sudan could be resolved though bilateral talk without mediation from a third party
January 20, 2021
Sudan and Ethiopia have been part of the tripartite talks on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) for more than nine years now.
The Sudanese invasion of Ethiopian territories, which Sudan denies, was perhaps the last thing that Ethiopia expected as the latter’s defense force was undertaking a military operation in the Tigray region of Ethiopia against Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) since November 4, 2020.
It has been confirmed from local sources that Sudan has occupied territories in North Western Ethiopia as deep as 50 kilometers within the Ethiopian border.
So far, Ethiopia ruled out a military response to the Sudanese incursion with the hope that it would be resolved with a diplomatic effort — something that has not yet affected the withdrawal of Sudanese forces from the occupied territories.
Ethiopia’s adherence to not enter into a border war with Sudan is premised on the belief that the entire government and people of Sudan are not supporting the invasion. It is a situation set up by a third party to drag Ethiopia into war with Sudan. It is seen as a proxy war project.
Ethiopian Defense Chief of Staff, General Berhanu Jula, on Tuesday had an interview with the state media — Ethiopian News Agency.
“Sudan needs to be determined to abandon a snare of war set up by a third-party to resolve the problem through dialogue,” he said.
He did not name a name. However, he was clear that the objective of setting Sudan up for war against Ethiopia is aimed at sabotaging the tripartite talk on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).
“Behind the Sudanese incursions of Ethiopia’s sovereign territories is a third party with an objective to impede negotiation on the dam and its construction,” he said.
Last week, Head of Sudan’s Transitional Military Council (TMC), General Abdul Fetah Al-Burhan claimed that Sudanese forces entered Ethiopia with invitation from Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.
In a Press briefing on Wednesday, spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, Dina Mufti, said Sudan’s claim of invitation to occupy Ethiopian territories is completely wrong. He said that the Ethiopian government in no circumstance consented incursion of Sudanese forces in the Ethiopian territories:
“Media are reporting that some Sudanese military officials are claiming to have got consent from the Ethiopian side to let the Sudanese army occupy the Ethiopian border areas as part of the scheme to support the law enforcement operation in Tigray. Ethiopia appreciates the Sudanese government for its cooperation with the government of Ethiopia during the former’s efforts in enforcing law and order in the country. However, it was surprising to see the Sudanese military misconstruing the friendly talks for cooperation along the borderlines of Ethiopia as a green light to encroach into Ethiopian lands. It should be clear that our government is responsible and sensitive to the sovereignty of the country and could not agree, by any means, to let a third party occupy Ethiopian lands.”
Furthermore, the spokesperson expressed appreciation for countries with intention to mediate the two countries but said that Ethiopia still believes the issue could be resolved through bilateral dialogue.
When the Sudanese leader, General Al Burhan ,visited sometime last week soldiers who occupied Ethiopian land, he told them we will not withdraw. “This is our land. We will die here,” based on a citizen report.
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