'We don't want war with Ethiopia,' Sudan's Sovereign Council says

Bassem Aly , Friday 22 Jan 2021

The spokesperson argued the only way the border conflict can be solved is through resorting to technical committees that will handle the demarcation process

FILE PHOTO: The head of Sudan's Transitional Military Council, Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, talks to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed during the signing of a power sharing deal in Khartoum, Sudan, August 17, 2019. REUTERS

The spokesperson of Sudan’s Sovereign Council, the transitional civilian-military body which governs the country, said that Khartoum “doesn’t want war with Ethiopia,” amid an ongoing dispute along the 1600-km border between the two countries.

Speaking to Al-Arabiya on Friday, Mohamed Al-Fakki stressed that Sudan is “capable of protecting our lands and restoring those left with Ethiopia,'' adding that his country does not seek either a direct or proxy war with Addis Ababa.
“We only want our land,” Al-Fakki explained, adding that “the eruption of war between Sudan and Ethiopia is not in the region’s interest."
Al-Fakki, moreover, highlighted that Sudan “entered the territories peacefully," and that “If Sudan wants war, we would have entered Al-Fashqa since day one.”
“Why would Ethiopia accept to demarcate the border with Juba on basis of the 1902 [Anglo-Ethiopian Treaty] deal and refuse to have a similar one with Sudan,” Al-Fakki asked.
He also argued that the only way this border conflict can be solved is through resorting to technical committees that will handle the demarcation process.
Sudan has complained for years about attacks by Ethiopian farmers against its territories, counting on the support of Ethiopian militias to expel Sudanese citizens from their homes and take their possessions.
Last month, Sudan accused Ethiopia forces and militias of attacking Sudanese troops along the border, leaving four dead and more than 20 injured.
Media reports suggest that the conflict has taken place in agricultural land in Al-Fashqa, an eastern border region inside Sudan's national boundaries, where Khartoum recently deployed troops.
In December, Sudan's Information Minister Faisal Saleh told Reuters that "our army will do its duty to take back all our land, currently our army has taken back between 60 and 70 percent of Sudanese land.”
Saleh explained that Sudanese forces had clashed and acted defensively for two days against Ethiopian "regular forces" not militias.
“Sudanese intelligence reports confirmed that the organisation, training and arming of the forces that attacked were not militias but regular forces,” said Saleh.
Last month, both sides concluded a two-day meeting with the High-Level Political Committee that took place between top-level officials from the two countries.
The meeting was attended by Ethiopia's Deputy Prime Minister and Top Diplomat Demeke Mekonnen, while Sudan's Cabinet Affairs Minister Omar Munis led his country's delegation.
No settlement has been reached so far on the border dispute, as military tensions along the borders continue to persist.
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