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Saudi Arabia offers border crisis mediation between Sudan, Ethiopia

January 28, 2021 at 1:00 am

Mohamed al-Faki Suleiman, the youngest member of Sudan’s Sovereignty Council, speaks during an interview in the capital Khartoum on 21 December 2020. [EBRAHIM HAMID/AFP via Getty Images]

A high-level Sudanese delegation headed by Sovereignty Council member Mohamed Al-Faki Suleiman on Wednesday began a one-day official visit to Saudi Arabia to discuss the border crisis with Ethiopia.

Sudanese newspaper Al-Taghyeer reported: “A member of the Sovereignty Council will give the Saudi leadership a briefing on the situation in Sudan, especially on the Sudanese-Ethiopian borders dispute and relations with Ethiopia,” noting that Suleiman is accompanied by the Minister of Religious Affairs and Endowments Nasreddin Mufreh and Director of the General Intelligence Service General Jamal Abdul Majeed.

Relations between Sudan and Ethiopia have been tense in recent weeks due to armed attacks on the borders between the two countries, which Khartoum accuses Ethiopian militias of launching.

Addis Ababa denied the accusations, asserting that it is closely following the aggression initiated by local armed groups on the Ethiopian-Sudanese border.

READ: Sudan prevents ambassador from travelling back to Ethiopia by land 

Spokesperson for the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Dina Mufti announced on Tuesday that his country is committed to reaching a peaceful solution to the crisis, but wants Sudan to withdraw, stressing that: “Our precondition to enter negotiations is Sudan’s retreat to the lands it has been controlling previously,” reported the Ethiopian News Agency (ENA).

Mufti praised the initiative of the involved parties wishing to settle the conflict with Sudan, emphasising that Addis Ababa: “Is always ready to settle border issues through the conventional mechanisms, which have already been planned.”

The Sudanese Sovereignty Council disclosed in a statement: “The deployment of our armed forces in the border area is standard procedure,” adding that “Sudan does not wish to take measures that could affect relations with Ethiopia,” according to Al Arabiya TV channel.

The Sudanese Minister of Defence General Yassin Ibrahim Yassin stated on Monday that: “Ethiopian attempts to stall is a common factor hindering the Renaissance Dam negotiations and the dispute over Al-Fashaqa area.”

Yassin divulged in an interview with Al-Hadath TV channel: “The talk of Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed about disputed areas was the reason why the Sudanese army sought to control the Sudanese lands in accordance with the agreements in force.”