Another unspecified round in Addis Ababa awaits the hot border file between Sudan and Ethiopia after the meetings of the high-level political committee on border issues in Khartoum on Wednesday failed to push Ethiopia to demarcate the border on the ground.
Although the Joint Border Committees reached an agreement on demarcating the borders on the ground since 2012, the Ethiopian side has been delaying the start of the process, according to the former head of the border demarcation committee, Abdullah Al-Sadiq.
Officials in the Khartoum government expected that the border front with Ethiopia would witness a lull, after extensive military operations in which the Sudanese army recaptured part of the rugged lands that had been seized by Ethiopian farmers with the protection of militias affiliated with the federal army.
The stake remains in the persistence of the cautious calm in the Sudanese state of Gedaref, on the border with Ethiopia, until another round of the Boundary Commission is held in Addis Ababa, the date of which has not been set.
According to a Sudanese military source who spoke to Al-Jazeera Net, the Sudanese army – before the resumption of the talks – imposed its control over Mount Abu Taur, and stopped its advance to Khor Shein, 3 kilometers away, and to the frankincense, 10 kilometers away.
The source added that the army’s artillery responded yesterday to the Ethiopian bombardment, which had been exposed to fulcrums established by the Sudanese forces after they retook the strategic Jabal Abu Tayyour.
Faisal Mohamed Salih, Minister of Culture and Information, a Sudanese government spokesman, said that “the army has managed to regain vast lands that exceed 50% of the land area seized by the Ethiopians.”
The former parliamentarian for the Fashaka Department, Mubarak Al-Nour, had told Al-Jazeera Net earlier that the Ethiopian incursion into the lands of the great pious and the small fiasco had acquired about two million acres of the most fertile agricultural lands of Sudan.
The government spokesman stressed Sudan’s adherence to demarcating the borders first before discussing any other agreements with Ethiopia related to agriculture or others, in order to avoid procrastination and procrastination.
For his part, Saleh told Al-Jazeera Net that the government asked the border expert Moaz Tango and technicians of the Boundary Commission to provide it with the cost of demarcating the borders on the ground, which was estimated at $ 6 million, stressing that Sudan is committed to paying it on its own when the two countries agree to start the demarcation process and set border markers.
Away from the negotiating table, the Sudanese army’s plan is based on regaining control over the strategic areas, represented by several mountains overlooking the plains and rivers of the Al Fashaqa area, according to the member of the Committee for Victims of Fashaqa, Taif Othman.
Othman explained that the Sudanese forces had already regained most of the lands in Al-Fashaqa Al-Kubra until the borders of the international borders in the north in Al-Ula, as the war in the Ethiopian Tigray region facilitated the task of the Sudanese army there.
Othman indicates in an interview with Al-Jazeera Net that the difficult battles will be south in the small fusha, which separates it from the great fasha, the Basalam River, which splits the two regions from east to west.
And he confirms that the Ethiopian Amhara militia – which has an interest in the seizure of the little mischief – was desperate to defend it due to the intensity of the Ethiopian military presence and settlement, as well as the control of these militias over difficult terrain that would ensure that they exposed the plains of the region.
Al-Taif Othman says that the army came very close to uprooting frankincense and Khor Shin in Al-Fasha Al-Saghra, but did not liberate them yet, stressing that the latter area is the most difficult due to the presence of the largest settler in the Ethiopian embassy settlement, which requires logistical equipment.
He adds that the Mount Deglash region also includes large Ethiopian settlements, to the extent that they were able to build a sugar factory, which is likely to be within the borders of Sudan.
Demiki Mekonnen, Minister of Foreign Affairs and head of the Ethiopian delegation in the border talks, had warned that the escalation of the Sudanese army threatens agreements between the two countries to maintain the status quo in the area north of Mount Daqlash.
According to Othman, the Sudanese army’s control of Jabal Abu Tayyur is a remarkable breakthrough, but it must also tighten its grip on Mount Daqlash, Qalaa frankincense and Khor Shin, enabling it to extend its control over the entire territory of Sudan in Al Fashaqa through combing operations only.
And in the event that the Sudanese forces reach Qalaa Frankincense and Khor Shin, they will control a paved road extending from south to north Fashaqa built by an Ethiopian Foundation to transport the corn and sesame crops – produced by the region – to the Ethiopian interior.
The strategic expert, Muhyiddin Muhammad, warns that the boundary line drawn by the British Major Queen in 1903 clarified the boundary line between the two countries in the mountains on the border, which are Jabal Halawa, Jabal Daqlash and Jabal Abu Tayyur.
In his interview with Al-Jazeera Net, Muhammad believes that the opening of the Sudanese army to the borders corrected previous conditions in which it was forced to withdraw from its camps due to an Ethiopian attack from December 20, 1995 to January 11, 1996.
“At that time, the Sudanese forces withdrew from the Taya Hammouri camps in the Khor Shin region, the Rahad protection camp, the Baslam camp, and the Alaw and Taya camps, all of which are located east of the Atbara river,” he added.
Muhammad confirms that the situation is on its way back to before the year 1995, as maps prepared by the researcher Mohieddin Ahmed Al-Hadi show the Sudanese camps and the corresponding camps for the Ethiopian army.
On the other hand, the Committee of Victims of Fashaqah Lands refused to negotiate with the Ethiopian delegation, and demanded the political leadership not to sit down with the delegation until the Sudanese army stabilized at the known international border points between the two countries.
A statement by the Chairman of the Committee, Al-Rasheed Abdul Qadir, warned of the practice of the Ethiopian side in the border file to pursue a policy of procrastination and procrastination over the past years.
On Wednesday noon in Khartoum, the high-level political committee meetings on border issues between Sudan and Ethiopia were concluded, and a joint statement indicated that the two parties agreed to submit reports to the leadership of the two countries, provided that the next meeting will be held in Addis Ababa at a date to be determined later.
Sudan’s border with Ethiopia is witnessing a military escalation following repeated attacks by Ethiopian forces on the Sudanese army this year, which led to casualties, which prompted Sudan to launch military operations to regain land it says militia and farmers from the Ethiopian Amhara militia are occupying it.