Ethiopia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Demeke Mekonnen said Ethiopia and Sudan can resolve recurrent border disputes without resorting to conflicts.
Mekonnen made the remark while briefing Addis Ababa-based African envoys late Thursday. The briefing, in particular, focused on the recent incident on the Ethiopia-Sudan common border, the ongoing peace-building initiatives, and negotiations over Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs disclosed in a statement.
“Appreciating the vibrant and longstanding relationships between the peoples of Ethiopia and Sudan, Mekonnen said there are various standing mechanisms the two countries can utilize to resolve the border dispute without resorting to conflicts,” the statement read.
Ethiopia and Sudan have longstanding competing claims over the Al-Fashaqa border region, an area of fertile land settled by Ethiopian farmers that Sudan claims is within its boundary.
Mekonnen said the Ethiopian government is ready to resolve the border dispute peacefully and amicably, further calling on the Sudan government to refrain from unnecessarily escalating tensions and internationalizing the issue.
In connection with the recent incident at the Ethiopia-Sudan common border, the deputy PM said the incident was orchestrated and organized by the Sudanese military forces in tandem with the rebel Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which the Ethiopian parliament recognized as a terrorist group.
Meanwhile, Mekonnen said the Ethiopian government has shown commitment by taking confidence-building measures so as to give a peaceful resolution to the conflict in the Northern part of Ethiopia.
He said “peace is in the best interest of the Ethiopian people.”
He emphasized that the Ethiopian government is committed to ensuring enduring peace in the country, and called on the international community to put pressure on the TPLF to refrain from its provocations for another round of conflict.
Amid the latest border dispute, Sudan on Monday decided to file a formal complaint to the United Nations Security Council against Ethiopia, while the Sudanese foreign ministry decided to immediately recall its ambassador to Ethiopia for consultations and to summon the Ethiopian ambassador in Khartoum to inform him of Sudan’s condemnation.
On Tuesday, the Ethiopian army rejected allegations that it executed seven captive Sudanese soldiers and instead accused Sudan of engaging in military provocations against Ethiopia.
On Wednesday, the Chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat called on the two countries to exercise restraint and initiate a dialogue regarding their border dispute.
Mahamat said the recent border skirmishes should not scuttle the diplomatic solutions being sought to resolve ongoing internal challenges in the two AU member states.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had also urged Sudan and Ethiopia to take concrete steps to defuse tensions and peacefully resolve their differences over the Al-Fashaqa border area, a UN spokesman said Tuesday. Enditem