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Sudan Seeks Western Support in Tigray Mediation

Sudan Seeks Western Support in Tigray Mediation

Saturday, 28 August, 2021 - 09:45
Sudan's PM Hamdok and Ethiopia's PM Abiy Ahmed in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (file photo: Reuters)

A Sudanese minister revealed an Ethiopian delegation visited his country to discuss purchasing more electricity generated in the neighboring country, despite the severe tension between the two sides.

Khartoum and Addis Ababa are in dispute over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), the armed conflict over the Sudanese border area of ​​Al-Fashqa, and Ethiopia's accusations of Sudan supporting the Tigray People's Liberation Front.

Several media outlets reported a Sudanese role being arranged to restore stability in Ethiopia, despite the declared Ethiopian rejection of the Sudanese initiative led by Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok.

Sudanese Energy Minister Jaden Ali Obeid said that his government has begun discussing understandings with Ethiopia to purchase more electricity.

Jaden, who was speaking to reporters at the "Cup of Tea" forum organized periodically by the independent newspaper al-Tayyar, added that the construction of the GERD is beneficial for Sudan, and the dispute between the two countries is only the issue of exchanging information and establishing a legally binding agreement.

Sudan has repeatedly asserted that the Dam is important. However, the government seems "incompatible" in the actual position on the differences with Ethiopia.

The "civil partner" adheres to negotiation to resolve the crises, indicated by leaked reported related to daily consultations between Hamdok and his "old friend" the Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

However, the position of the "military partner" in the transitional government is closer to that of Egypt, as evident from the developed military relations between the two, including the joint exercises.

"Africa Intelligence" magazine stated that the two governing partners in Sudan could play an essential role in the Ethiopian conflict.

"The Sudanese government, which consists of military and civilian representatives, is in an ideal position to talk with all participants in the Ethiopian conflict, through a combination of threats and gestures of friendship."

As head of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development in East Africa (IGAD) session, Hamdok adopted a draft initiative to resolve the internal Ethiopian conflict through negotiation.

The official Ethiopian response was surprising, as it considered Sudan a "biased party" in the armed conflict between the Liberation Front and the Ethiopian Defense forces.

Hamdok is still seeking agreement, considering his initiative to achieve peace in Ethiopia as a "return of favor" to the neighboring country.

The Ethiopian PM led the African mediation between civilians and the military, which resulted in the signing of the constitutional document that stipulated power-sharing and the formation of the transitional government with bilateral leadership.

Observers believe Sudan will play a pivotal role in achieving stability in Ethiopia, which prompted Western and African officials to visit Khartoum.

Earlier, the EUSR for the Horn of Africa Annette Weber discussed with Hamdok the GERD issue and the border conflict between the two countries.

"SUNA" quoted Foreign Minister Maryam Al-Mahdi as saying that Weber expressed the Union's concern over the situation in Ethiopia.

The Special Representative was briefed on Sudan's position on the Dam issue and its adherence to a legal agreement binding for all three parties.

In a press release, the government said that Weber informed Hamdok of her visit to Addis Ababa and her meeting with Ethiopian President Sahle Work Zewde and the Prime Minister.

Africa Intelligence reported that Hamdok could play the role of a peacemaker. He has spent ten years in Ethiopia and has excellent relations with his counterpart.

It indicated that the military partner, led by the head of the Sovereign Council, Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, possesses tools of pressure on the Ethiopian leadership, without naming these tools, hinting at possible contacts between the Sudanese army and the Tigray rebel forces.

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