ADDIS ABABA, 21 January 2021 – Ethiopia and Sudan are blaming each other and an unnamed “third party” for dispute over the al-Fashaga regon on their common border.
“Ethiopia does not want to go to war with friendly Sudan but wants to solve the problem peacefully,” Ethiopia’s army chief of staff, General Birhanu Jula was cited Thursday in media reports as saying.
The desire to control the limited, fertile farmlands in the region led last November to the clashes between Ethiopian Shifta forces and Sudanese soldiers.
Sudan has alleged that an Ethiopian aircraft violated its air space ten days ago, a charge Ethiopians have denied.
In return, Ethiopia has accused Sudanese troops of reportedly advancing into Ethiopia’s Gondar regon near the border.
Residents of Gondar were cited by news reports as claiming that Sudanese soldiers looted property, including cattle, and burned homes and farmlands.
Gen. Birhaunu Jula urged Sudan to seek non-violent ways of resolving the border dispute and avoid what he described as “war traps” set by an unnamed party.
Troops from both countries have clashed in recent weeks in al-Fashaga with Ethiopia issuing warnings to Sudan.
In late December 2020, Khartoum bragged about regaining full control of its territories that had allegedly been under control of Ethiopian military for over a quarter century.
Observers and diplomats in Addis Ababa say the undisclosed “third party” in Ethiopia’s accusations is, more likely thank not, Eritrea.
Both the United States and the European Union have blamed Eritrea for involvement in the armed conflict in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region.
The US, EU and the United Nations say part of the interest of Eritrea has been to abduct and forcefully rendition Eritrean refugees in camps in Tigray.
The refugees fled Eritrea in order to avoid compulsory conscription as well as political persecution.
Eritrea has denied the accusations by the United States, the European Union and, now, Ethiopia.
Sudan and Ethiopia opened talks in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, last December 22 focused on demarcating their common border in the Tigray region.