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Sudan, Ethiopia voice need to settle border tensions

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Sudanese PM Abdallah Hamdok welcome Ethiopian Deputy PM Demeke Mekonen on 22 December 2020 (ST photo)December 22, 2020 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan and Ethiopia expressed the need to settle border issues and develop bilateral cooperation to fit with the strong relations between the people of the two neighbouring countries.

Sudanese and Ethiopian delegations started in Khartoum on Wednesday the meetings of the Ethiopia-Sudan High-Level Political Committee to discuss bilateral cooperation and recent border clashes.

The visiting Ethiopian delegation was chaired by the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Demeke Mekonen while the Cabinet Affairs Minister Omer Munis chaired Sudanese side.

In his speech at the opening session of the bilateral political committee, Mekonen said the Sudanese military operations led to the death of several civilians, destroyed their belongings and farms.

The Ethiopian government is "very much concerned by this recent development in the border areas. Furthermore, it is endangering the agreements we have reached to maintain the status quo in the area north of Mount Dagelish," he said in his speech extended to Sudan Tribune.

"Therefore, it is our firm position that reactivating the existing mechanisms and finding an amicable solution on settlement and cultivation are the only way to bring a lasting solution to the issues in our common border," further said the minister who is from the Amhara region.

The minister did not raise the recent cross border attacks by the Ethiopian army of the Fano militiamen against the Sudanese army inside its territory which are seen by the Sudanese side as the main issue of discord.

Sudanese officials also were dismayed with the accusations directed by Ethiopian lawmakers accusing Sudan of backing the TPLF fighters despite the assurances made by Al-Burhan during his visit to Addis Ababa in November 2020.

Addressing the opening session of the committee’s meeting, Munis indicated "the strong political will of the two parties to demarcate the borders between the two countries," said the office of the Sudanese prime minister.

The Sudanese official reaffirmed the historical and strong relations between the two countries and underscored that the meeting would determine a date for the start of the border demarcation process.

This will contribute to "Resolving the outstanding issues between the two parties regarding the issue of borders," he stressed.

The government spokesman Faisal Mohamed Saleh made things more clear about the position of his country when he told reports in Khartoum that the most important now is to demarcate the border.

"When the borders are demarcated, we can discuss anything, including the issue of Ethiopian farmers on the Sudanese territory. This is the official position of the Sudanese government," he stressed.

During a recent meeting for the IGAD countries in Djibouti, the Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed thanked the bloc leaders for their support for his government to quell the dissent in Tigray and to preserve Ethiopia’s integrity.

In a related development, the Ethiopian Minister of Transport Dagmawit Moges discussed with her Sudanese counterpart, ways to develop Ethiopian use for Port Sudan.

Moges also discussed with the Sudanese Minister of Energy and Mining, Khairy Abdel-Rahman the supply and distribution of oil products as well as possible projects that the two countries can jointly develop.

(ST)

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The Sudan Tribune editorial team.


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