Sudan and Ethiopia point fingers as border dispute escalates
CAPE TOWN - The border dispute between Ethiopia and Sudan continues as both parties accuse one another in the wake of the Tigray conflict that began in November last year.
On Sunday, the Sudanese government condemned Ethiopian forces for their encroachment on Sudan’s territory, which it sees as “a direct violation of Sudan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity”, according to a statement from Sudan’s foreign ministry, China Global Television Network (CGTN) reported on Monday.
The Sudanese foreign ministry did not provide specific information regarding when the latest encroachment occurred, but said it violated "the values of neighbourliness and positive interaction among countries that enhances stability and security”.
The ministry also held Ethiopia responsible for the consequences of its encroachment and called for this act of “aggression” to stop immediately.
Meanwhile, on Saturday, the spokesperson for Ethiopia’s Foreign Ministry, Dina Mufti, addressed the border dispute in a virtual press conference held between Mufti and local and international media to clarify “foggy issues”, according to the ministry’s statement published on Facebook.
Ambassador Dina Mufti gives virtual briefing to #SouthSudan based local and international media on current pivotal...Posted by The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia on Saturday, February 13, 2021
“Ambassador Dina called on the government of Sudan to stop plundering and displacing Ethiopian citizens that it has started as of November 6 while the Ethiopian government was busy enforcing law and order in Tigray,” the statement reads.
Dina has denied any third-party mediator’s request to assist in resolving the dispute, stating that the issue can be resolved peacefully between the two countries only “once the Sudanese army evacuates the area that it has forcefully occupied”.
The border dispute between Ethiopia and Sudan dates back to the 1900s, according to Deutsche Welle (DW), but has been reignited in the wake of the Tigray conflict.
Tigray, the northern restive region of Ethiopia, is adjacent to Sudan and shares a border.
The Tigray conflict began on November 4, 2020, when the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) – the ruling party of Ethiopia’s Tigray region – attacked an Ethiopian National Defence Force (ENDF) base located in the Tigray region, according to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.
A state of emergency was declared by Abiy on November 6. Internet shutdowns followed. Reports of massacres emerged, a transitional Tigrayan government was set up and nearly 50,000 Ethiopians fled to neighbouring Sudan.
The conflict ended on November 28 with Ethiopia’s federal government declaring that it had taken full control of the Tigray region.
Mekelle under command of the National Defense Forces pic.twitter.com/rj8GbK3ii8— Abiy Ahmed Ali 🇪🇹 (@AbiyAhmedAli) November 28, 2020
Last month Sudan accused Ethiopian aircraft of crossing the border, Reuters reports.
Some Ethiopian officials accuse the Sudanese army of using the Tigray conflict to claim disputed land, while Sudan fears that Ethiopian farmers will claim land that they regard as “historically Ethiopian”, according to DW.
During Dina’s virtual press conference on Saturday, he addressed the Tigray conflict by stating: “The operation was effectively completed and now the government of Ethiopia is busy rehabilitating and reconstructing destroyed infrastructures by the reckless TPLF clique.”