KHARTOUM, 15 February 2021 – Sudan and Ethiopia have welcome South Sudan’s efforts to mediate their border dispute.
“Ethiopia emphasizes that the border issue, which has been there for a long time, should be handled by the different mechanisms that the two countries were engaged in,” said Dina Mufti, a spokesperson for the Ethiopia’s ministry of foreign affairs.
“Ethiopia is always ready to negotiate and solve the issue peacefully,” Mufti told reporters during a press briefing Monday in the South Sudanese capital, Juba.
“The dispute should be solved peacefully, as war is not helpful at all. My country is calling on our Sudanese brothers and sisters to look at the big picture, which is peace and tranquility in the region, and focus on development,” Mufti added.
Ethiopia accuses the British Colonial Administration of conducting a unilateral demarcation of the border without the presence of the Ethiopian side.
Mufti claims that Sudan and Ethiopian exchanged notes to renegotiate and re-demarcate the border in 1972, while maintaining the status quo, in order to settle the matter amicably.
Sudanese troops occupied the disputed border area at the end of last year and announced that it had recovered its territory under Ethiopian occupation for many decades.
“This belligerence on the Sudanese side does not reflect the longstanding relations between the two countries, and Ethiopia is asking Sudan to respect the status quo,” Mufti told reporters Monday in Juba.
On Sunday, military authorities in Sudan condemned Ethiopian forces for their new “aggression” on Sudanese lands, without providing the specific time.
“Sudan condemns the aggression of Ethiopian forces on the lands legally belonging to Sudan, which was a direct violation of Sudan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.
Sudan has accused Ethiopian famers, backed by armed forces, of seizing Sudanese border lands in Sudan’s Fashaga area and cultivating them since 1995, while Ethiopia accuses Sudan of acting in violation of Ethiopian sovereignty.
Tension has risen sharply in the disputed area, notably since last September, with significant troop movements reported on both sides.