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Ethiopia, Sudan border dispute escalates

Ethiopia, Sudan border dispute escalates

The war of words between Sudan and Ethiopia intensified as the two accuse each other of trying to escalate the already tense situation in border areas.

Sudan, in a statement released in the beginning of this week, claimed that Ethiopian forces have crossed into Sudanese territory in an act of "aggression.” Four days later, on Thursday, Ethiopia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) responded saying Sudan is showing a provocative behavior.  

“Ethiopia condemns in the strongest possible terms the escalation and provocative behavior of the Government of the Sudan regarding the boundary issue between Ethiopia and the Sudan,” MoFA said.

The Ministry accused the Sudanese government’s military wing of masterminding the border conflict.

“The Ethiopian government strongly believes that the conflict being trumpeted by the Sudanese government’s military wing could only serve the interests of a third party at the expense of the Sudanese people,” it added.

The dispute between the two countries escalated after Ethiopia’s federal government launched a military strike against the ruling party of one of the country’s 10 regions, a situation which helped Sudan take advantage and deploy troops to territories in Fashqa area, which was occupied by Ethiopian farmers and militias. 

“The Sudanese National Army violated the basic principles of international law and peaceful settlement of disputes by unceremoniously invading Ethiopia in early November 2020,” MoFA explained.

Ethiopia also accused Sudan of violating the bilateral boundary agreements, which stipulates non-displacement of nationals of either nation from their farms jointly registered by the two Governments, the status quo of which shall be maintained until the disposition of the case by an agreement.

However, the Sudanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said “It 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.”

Likewise, Ethiopia also referred Sudan as an aggressor and called upon its ruling government to reverse the aggression, refrain from provocation and resort to a peaceful settlement of the boundary issue.

“Serving a third party interest would result in the determent of the two nations,” MoFA added.

Last week, the Arab League expressed its concern over the escalation of border dispute between the two countries. It called for the de-escalation of the situation through dialogue at the earliest opportunity.

Sudan has been an important ally to Ethiopia for the construction of the GERD on Abay River, but the relationship started to deteriorate after the removal of its former leader, Omar Al-Bashir.