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War Looms Between Sudan, Ethiopia

War Looms Between Sudan, Ethiopia

Thursday, 14 January, 2021 - 08:30
Ethiopians who fled the ongoing fighting in Tigray region, carry their belongings from a boat after crossing the Setit river on the Sudan-Ethiopia border in Hamdayet village in eastern Kassala state, Sudan (File photo: Reuters)

Sudan warned that there will be serious consequences after Ethiopia's recent military violations, stressing that the air sorties at the border contribute to increasing security tensions.

Ethiopia has pushed large reinforcements to its border with Sudan, while the Sudanese army still maintains its military deployment within its territory and the areas it has retaken in the last period.

The Chairman of Sudan's Sovereign Council, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, accompanied by the Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Mohammad Othman al-Hussein, and a number of senior Sudanese army commanders, arrived at the Sudanese-Ethiopian border to inspect the forces at the front lines.

On Monday, Ethiopian militias attacked al-Fashqa area, killing five women and a child. Later, the army found the body of one of the two women who went missing during the attack.

Sources reported that the Sudanese army combed the areas after the attack of the Ethiopian forces.

They predicted possible military confrontations after the Sudanese and Ethiopian armies conducted ground maneuvers near the border.

In a strongly worded press statement, the Sudanese Foreign Ministry said that an Ethiopian military aircraft crossed the Sudanese-Ethiopian border in a “dangerous and unjustified escalation.”

The ministry warned that the latest incident “could have dangerous consequences, and cause more tension in the border area.”

The ministry called on Ethiopia not to repeat “such hostilities in the future given their dangerous repercussions on the future of bilateral relations between the two countries and on security and stability in the Horn of Africa.”

Meanwhile, a Sudanese military helicopter crashed shortly after taking off from Gedarif, an eastern province bordering Ethiopia.

The military said the crew tried to land the plane, but it caught fire after hitting the ground, adding that all three members of the crew survived.

The Sudanese government spokesman, Minister of Culture and Information Faisal Mohamed Saleh denied allegations that the Sudanese forces had entered Ethiopian territory.

Saleh asserted during his interview with Bloomberg Asharq that the Sudanese army responded decisively to the Ethiopian violations of the Sudanese border after the joint border committee failed to make any progress.

He reiterated that the conflict between the two countries has nothing to do with demarcating the borders, which are internationally agreed upon, and there is no dispute over them, which Addis Ababa denies.

Recent reports indicated that Saudi Arabia and the UAE are now involved in the mediations aiming to ease tensions between Sudan and Ethiopia.

Member of the Sovereignty Council Mohammad al-Faki Suleiman is expected to visit Saudi Arabia to clarify Sudan's position on the conflict with Ethiopia.

Sudan's National Borders Commission on Wednesday accused Ethiopia of violating the historical border agreements signed between the two countries

Moaz Teqno, head of the commission, described Ethiopia as “evasive and procrastinating” in implementing the agreements signed between the two countries on marking the border.

Teqno briefed the ambassadors, diplomats, and representatives of regional and international organizations to Sudan on the dispute between Khartoum and Addis Ababa.

Over the past years, Ethiopia has continued to encroach on Sudanese lands, build settlements and expel Sudanese farmers, in clear violation of all agreements, stated Teqno.

“The Ethiopian infringements on the Sudanese territory have continued since 1957,” asserted Teqno, noting that Ethiopia also evaded its obligations in the border agreements which could be traced back to as early as 1903.

Ethiopia’s ambassador to Sudan Yibeltal Aemero told the briefing that “all the recent unprecedented action of the Sudanese army will complicate the bilateral relations, including the pending task of the re-demarcation of the common boundary with huge implications to peoples of the two countries and the region at large unless corrected urgently.”

Aemero accused Sudanese troops of taking advantage of the deadly conflict in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region to enter the territory and loot property, kill civilians and displace thousands of people.

The ambassador stated that his country supports the Sudanese people and has not resorted to the military option, noting that the Sudanese army’s attack must end because it will complicate relations.

The border between Sudan and Ethiopia is about 725 km and was determined in the 1903 agreement.

Border tension between the two countries escalated during the conflict in Tigray region, after Ethiopian forces and militias attacked Sudanese forces inside their territory, killing three individuals and a high-ranking officer.

The Sudanese army redeployed within its territory and regained control over more than 80 percent of the areas that had been witnessing an Ethiopian presence for many years.

The negotiations to demarcate the border between Sudan and Ethiopia last December failed to reach an agreement.

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