The Ethiopian authorities accused Sudan of violating the agreement signed between them to resolve the border issue through negotiation, while Khartoum confirmed that what the Sudanese Armed Forces had done was a redeployment within its borders, in a new escalation that would return the border crisis between the two countries to its first square.
A member of the Ethiopian-Sudanese Border Commission, Ambassador Ibrahim Idris, said that what he described as violations by the Sudanese forces had caused losses in agriculture and property, and led to the displacement of Ethiopian citizens, calling for a peaceful settlement of border disputes in accordance with international agreements.
In a press conference in Addis Ababa, members of the Ethiopian-Sudanese Borders Commission called on Sudan to immediately return to what they called its original borders, and to abide by the 1972 agreement.
The director of the Al-Jazeera office in Addis Ababa, Mohamed Taha Tawakkol, explained that what is remarkable in the Ethiopian official’s statements is the assertion that there are no borders or agreements in this regard, as far as they are understandings, as he put it.
Tawakkol quoted Ibrahim Idris as saying that Ethiopia considers the areas that the Sudanese army seized in recent weeks as Ethiopian lands, and demanded its withdrawal before the borders are demarcated, which brings the border crisis between the two countries back to square one.
But the head of the Sudanese Sovereignty Council, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, briefed the US Secretary of the Treasury, Stephen Mnuchin, during his reception in Khartoum, on Sudan’s position on border tensions with Ethiopia.
Al-Burhan clarified that what the Sudanese forces did is a redeployment within the borders, stressing Sudan’s keenness to address the differences through negotiation and dialogue.
For his part, Mnuchin stressed Washington’s keenness for Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia to reach an agreement on filling and operating the Renaissance Dam.
In the context, a high-ranking Sudanese military source confirmed to Al-Jazeera the calm of the situation at the Sudanese-Ethiopian borders, with the retreat of military confrontations, following the deployment of the Sudanese army there.
And Sudanese military sources have confirmed to Al Jazeera that the total area that the army has extended its control over exceeds 3 thousand square kilometers, and Ethiopian groups have occupied it for more than 25 years, according to these sources.
For his part, Vanta Mandefru, Deputy Governor of the Ethiopian Amhara Region, said – in special statements to the island – that the region seeks to maintain relations between the people of Sudan and Ethiopia, and that the border dispute will not be resolved except through dialogue, negotiation and adopting the peace option.
Tensions have escalated in the border region since the outbreak of the conflict in the Tigray region in northern Ethiopia in early November, and the arrival of more than 50,000 refugees in eastern Sudan.
The disputes centered on agricultural land in Al-Fashaqa, which lies within the international borders of Sudan, but which has been settled by Ethiopian farmers for a long time.
Armed clashes have occurred between Sudanese and Ethiopian forces in recent weeks, and each side has accused the other of inciting violence, and the two countries held talks last month in Khartoum on this issue, without reaching an agreement.