Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sudan Dr. Mariam al-Sadiq al-Mahdi
Sudanese Foreign Minister Mariam Al-Sadiq Al-Mahdi accused Ethiopia on Saturday of “fabricating problems” with Sudan to “escape its internal problems” as both countries witness tensions over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) and border attacks.
In a press conference held in Khartoum on Saturday afternoon over Sudan’s foreign policies, Al-Mahdi said that the “Ethiopian claims” that Al-Fashaqa border region is Ethiopian are completely rejected and unacceptable.
The minister added that her country’s stance on the GERD is based on international law and the Declaration of Principles on GERD which was signed in 2015 in Khartoum between Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan.
Al-Mahdi stressed Sudan’s support for the rights of the River Nile Basin countries as well as the necessity to implement projects on the river through cooperation and integration.
“We recognise Ethiopia's right to benefit from development sources, but this should not harm other Blue Nile basin countries,” she said.
Al-Mahdi's statement on relations with Ethiopia and GERD came after the United Nations Security Council’s statement on Wednesday calling on Sudan, Ethiopia, and Egypt to continue the African Union-sponsored talks on GERD according to a timeframe to reach a legally binding agreement on the operation and filling of the dam.
Both Egypt and Sudan welcomed and supported the statement, but Ethiopia rejected it completely.
Previous rounds of AU-sponsored talks collapsed before they could reach an agreement between Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia, with the two downstream countries blaming the talks’ failure on Ethiopia’s intransigence.
The decades-long Al-Fashqa border dispute concerns large swaths of agricultural land Sudan says are within its borders, according to an agreement that demarcated the borders between the two nations in the early 1900s. The two nations have held rounds of talks, most recently in Khartoum in December, to settle the dispute, but haven't made progress.
The dispute has escalated in recent months after Sudan deployed troops to Al-Fashaqa, driving out Ethiopian farmers and militias in the area.
At least 84 Sudanese troops were killed in clashes with Ethiopian forces and militias from November to August.