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Ethiopia says ready to retaliate against Sudan but prefers negotiated settlement


A Sudanese army officer with some of his troops deployed on the eastern Sudan border on 21 Dec 2020 (ST photo)December 29, 2020 (KHARTOUM) - The official spokesman of the Ethiopian foreign ministry threatened on Tuesday to retaliate against Sudanese cross border attacks in what he termed as Ethiopian territories but he later stated his government keenness to reach a negotiated settlement with Sudan.

"If Sudan does not stop expanding into Ethiopian territories, Ethiopia will be forced to launch a counter-offensive," Ambassador Dina Mufti told Ethio FM 107.8 radio, underscoring that the silence of his government should not be taken for weakness.

However, in a separate statement published in English on the same day, Mufti said his government is committed to reactivating the existing mechanisms to reach a negotiated settlement to the border issues.

"We believe that securitization and unnecessary escalation will only worsen the situation and create pointless tension in the border area and disrupt daily activities of our peoples living in the border area," he added in a long statement released by the Ethiopian foreign ministry.

In Khartoum, Sudanese officials say their forces acted within the international border with Ethiopia in line with the 1902 agreement.

They point out that the current conflict is inherited from the former president who allowed Ethiopian farmers to cultivate in the border area and latter ordered the evacuation of Sudanese army from the area after the war between Eritrea and Ethiopia and his reconciliation with Zenawi.

Recently the two countries held a meeting in Khartoum, where the Ethiopian Deputy Prime Minister called to withdraw Sudanese troops and compensate the Ethiopian farmers citing vandalism and looting of their products.

The Sudanese cabinet affair minister who chaired the Sudanese delegation for his part stressed the need to demarcate the border first after what the two countries can reach joint cooperation agreement on the border area and discuss the presence of Ethiopian farmers inside the Sudanese territory.

In his statement, Mufti recalled recent statements Abiy Ahmed Ethiopian Prime Minister saying that "some parties seek to create tensions between Sudan and Ethiopia," without naming the alleged "conspirators."

The Ethiopian Foreign Ministry’s statement closed by urging Sudan to recall the two countries’ continued solidarity and insisting that “the issue can be solved through dialogue.”

A Sudanese senior military official said on Tuesday that his country has no hostile intentions towards Ethiopia, emphasizing that the goal of the military operation on the eastern Sudan border is to retake control of 2.5 million acres of agricultural areas.


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