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JUBA - 15 Feb 2021

Ethiopia welcomes Juba's offer of mediation in standoff with Sudan

The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia has welcomed South Sudan's initiative to mediate its border dispute with the Republic of Sudan.

Addressing the press in Juba on Saturday, Zelalem Birhan Alemu, Ethiopia’s deputy head of mission said that Ethiopia welcomes any initiative from any country if it will lead to mutual peace between the two countries. 

“South Sudan has offered to mediate, we say any mediation Ethiopia welcomes. Ethiopia always stands for negotiations and peaceful resolution of problems so any initiative is welcome. On 6 November 2020, the Sudanese encroached Ethiopian territory so we need that to be reversed to have that negotiation. So, any negotiation initiatives are welcome,” the Ethiopian envoy said. “The border issue with Sudan has been there for a long time and in 1972 we had an agreement to renegotiate the border and demarcate the border.”

Birhan said the conference, organized by Ethiopia's Foreign Affairs Ministry and its Embassy in Juba was aimed at providing accurate information on the border conflict, the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam negotiations, the law enforcement operation in Tigray, and its aftermath. 

“There is also information circulating about the border issue between Ethiopia and Sudan and also on the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam and the trilateral negotiations that are taking place between Ethiopia, Sudan, and Egypt,” Ambassador Birhan said. “We believe that the information which is circulating on social media, most of which is inaccurate, and aimed at disinformation would be rectified because the right information has now been provided."

He said that the negotiations have currently stalled because the Sudanese requested that they do not want to negotiate right now but that Ethiopia believes that these negotiations will create a lasting solution for the filling and operation of the dam.

“We invited the spokesperson of the ministry of foreign affairs, Dina Mufti and he said that the law enforcement operation in Tigray is over and what is now taking place is the rehabilitation of the people affected by that operation and also the humanitarian relief operation that is taking place in Tigray,” he added.

The Sudanese Sovereign Council also said in a statement last week that they welcome South Sudan's interest in mediating between the two countries.

Chairman of Sudan's Sovereign Council Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan on Thursday met with Tut Gatluak, South Sudan's presidential adviser on security affairs, and said Gatluak expressed President Salva Kiir's readiness to mediate between Sudan and Ethiopia to reach a political and diplomatic solution to the border dispute.

Sudan accuses Ethiopia of aggression 

Sudan, on Sunday, strongly condemned what it termed as aggression committed by Ethiopia on its territories and the direct violation of its sovereignty and the safety of the Sudanese lands.

The Foreign Ministry, in a statement, described the aggression on the Sudanese territories as unacceptable and regretful escalation. 

“The aggression contradicts the values of good neighborliness and the positive treatment between the countries to strengthen security and stability,” the statement said.

The Sudanese foreign ministry said that the Ethiopian move would have a dangerous impact on security and stability in the region, adding that Sudan holds Ethiopia fully responsible for the consequences of its aggression.