By Siyanne Mekonnen @Siyaanne
Addis Abeba, February 19/2021 – Ethiopia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a strong statement in which it said Ethiopia “strongly believes that the conflict being trumpeted by the Sudanese government’s military wing could only serve the interests of a third party at the expense of the Sudanese people.”
The Ministry also condemned “in the strongest possible terms the escalation and provocative behavior of the Government of the Sudan regarding the boundary issue between Ethiopia and the Sudan.”
The Statement came two days after the Sudanese Foreign Ministry summoned Gamal al-Sheikh, Sudan’s Ambassador to Ethiopia, home for “consultations about the border and the Great Ethiopia Renaissance Dam (GERD)”, according to the spokesperson for the Sudanese Foreign Ministry, Ambassador Mansour Boulad.
Earlier, Ethiopia has said “the Sudanese Army demolished Ethiopian administrative institutions, overtaken military camps, killed and displaced residents, and destroyed their crops and property. Sudan acted in flagrant violation of international law against the use of force and the boundary re-demarcation treaties.”
The statements from Ethiopia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs came in the heels of renewed appeal to resolve the border conflict from authorities and residents of west Gonder zone in Amhara regional state where Sudanese forces have continued making incursions. Hunalem Ashagre, head of the ruling Prosperity Party (PP) of West Gonder zone, told regional media that “Sudan has violated Ethiopia’s borders especially in the West Gonder zone; it has forcefully taken over large areas from Kuwara to Abutir.”
According to Hunalem, the invasion has caused massive destruction of property and the displacement of residents, according to Hunalem. More than 1.5 billion ETB worth of property was looted, and local farmers’ and investors’ crops, tractors and camps were both looted and destroyed. The residents of Selamber Kebele have also been displaced, although he didn’t specify in numbers.
The latest statement from Ethiopia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not mention the “third party” but several indications point finger at Egypt.
On Tuesday December 22, ESATtv, a TV network known for broadcasting classified information from government sources, reported that Egypt was trying to pressure Ethiopia through its neighboring countries. Citing credible sources within the government the network said Egypt was deliberately misrepresenting the federal government’s military operation in Tigray and pressuring donor countries to cut the aid provided to Ethiopia. It also said the embassy of Egypt in Addis Abeba was engaged in misinforming EU diplomats stationed in the city to have suspicious perceptions of the operation in Tigray, contributing to EU’s decision to withhold aid to Ethiopia.
Asked to comment on the allegation, the Spokesperson’s office of the Ministry told Addis Standard that Ethiopia was yet to take a stance on the matter as things stand because the nature of the said support was ”unclear.” “Egypt has the right to stand by Sudan but it is not made clear as to whether it is backing Sudan by means of military support or other ways,” the office said, adding the Ethiopian government will take a stance if or after Egypt’s support is translated into actions or after it clarified the nature of the said support.
Amidst of all these escalatory and provocative behavior of the Sudan, Ethiopia has shown a great deal of patience, remained restrained from exercising its legitimate right of self-defense and time and again expressed its commitment to a peaceful settlementMoFA
Despite the escalating tension, Ethiopia said it “would like to call upon the people of the Sudan to check on its government from serving a third party interest which only would result in the determent of the two nations. Furthermore, Ethiopia calls upon brotherly African countries to advice the Sudanese government to finalize the border issues through available mechanisms in peaceful manner. ”
Full Statement from Ethiopia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia condemns in the strongest possible terms the escalation and provocative behavior of the Government of the Sudan regarding the boundary issue between Ethiopia and the Sudan. Ethiopia believes that any conflict between our two countries would only result in a colossal collateral damage and jeopardizes the well-being of the two nations. Therefore, the Ethiopian government strongly believes that the conflict being trumpeted by the Sudanese government’s military wing could only serve the interests of a third party at the expense of the Sudanese people.
It is to be noted that the two governments have sufficient mechanisms to deal with any claims and counterclaims of the border or any territorial claims. However, the Sudanese National Army violated the basic principles of international law and peaceful settlements of disputes by unceremoniously invading Ethiopia in early November 2020. In doing so, Sudan has violated the bilateral boundary agreements, which stipulate non-displacement of nationals of either nation from their farms jointly registered by the two Governments, the status quo of which shall be maintained until the disposition of the case by an agreement.
The Sudanese side has also overturned and undermined the efforts of the joint boundary committees that have been making tireless efforts to finalize the re-demarcation process of the common boundary. Contrary to the spirit of friendship and cooperation existing between our two brotherly countries, the Sudanese Army looted properties, burned camps, attacked and displaced thousands of Ethiopians and controlled vacated Ethiopian Military Camps.
What is more deplorable is, in an apparent misrepresentation of the facts on the ground, Sudan is deliberately engaged in misinformation campaigns against Ethiopia by accusing the victim as an aggressor, evading accountability by shifting blame and camouflaging its belligerence and continue its provocation in an attempt to control more lands.
Amidst of all these escalatory and provocative behavior of the Sudan, Ethiopia has shown a great deal of patience, remained restrained from exercising its legitimate right of self-defense and time and again expressed its commitment to a peaceful settlement of differences regarding the boundary through existing bilateral agreements and joint border mechanisms. What is needed is a political will of the two governments, which would enable them reach at an amicable solution.
Ethiopia firmly believes in the long standing fraternal relations between the people of Ethiopia and Sudan regardless of the nature of their respective governments. The attempt being made by the Sudanese Army to push the friendly peoples of Ethiopia and Sudan to unwarranted war is a serious blunder that will undermine their peace, stability and development of the two nations in particular and the region in general.
Ethiopia while reiterating its commitment for a peaceful settlement of the boundary issue, once again calls upon the Government of the Sudan to reverse the aggression, desist from provocation and resort to a peaceful settlement of the boundary issue.
Therefore, the Ethiopian government would like to call upon the people of the Sudan to check on its government from serving a third party interest which only would result in the determent of the two nations. Furthermore, Ethiopia calls upon brotherly African countries to advice the Sudanese government to finalize the border issues through available mechanisms in peaceful manner.
The government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia also thanks the people of Ethiopia for showing maximum patience and profound understanding. MoFA