EU fact-finding mission arrives in Sudan, to visit Ethiopia



Sun, 07 Feb 2021 - 01:30 GMT


Sun, 07 Feb 2021 - 01:30 GMT

FILE PHOTO: Finnish Foreign Affairs Minister Pekka Haavisto looks on during the foreign affairs ministers council in Brussels, Belgium September 21, 2020. Olivier Hoslet/Pool via REUTERS

FILE PHOTO: Finnish Foreign Affairs Minister Pekka Haavisto looks on during the foreign affairs ministers council in Brussels, Belgium September 21, 2020. Olivier Hoslet/Pool via REUTERS

CAIRO - 7 February 2021: Finnish Minister of Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto arrived in Khartoum Saturday presiding over an EU fact-finding mission in a trip that also includes Ethiopia in its second part in order to comprehend the ongoing crises.


The EU contemplates playing a role in coming up with peaceful solutions. Hence, the mission is holding meetings with Chairman of the Sudanese Council of Sovereignty Abdel Fatah al-Burhan, his first deputy Mohamed Dagalo, Minister of Foreign Affairs Omar Qamar al-Din, and Minister of Irrigation Yasser Abbas.


The mission will also visit a camp in Sudan hosting Ethiopian refugees who fled violence in Tigray.


It is noted that 50,000 out of 950,000 displaced Ethiopians fled to Sudan because of the fighting initiated by the Ethiopian federal government against the Tigray region.


Sudan and Ethiopia share borders of 1,600 kilometers, while the surface area of the disputed Al Fashaqa region is 250 square kilometers.


Sudan wants its borders to match the description indicated in the 1902 Agreement signed between Ethiopian and Great Britain, which was occupying Sudan at the time.


Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok issued a press release on December 16 declaring that a force was patrolling Abou Toyour Mountain on the Sudanese territory in the evening of December 15, and on its way back, "it was ambushed by Ethiopian militias and forces."


The Sudanese Armed Forces sent reinforcements to the area after the attack that killed four and injured 20 military personnel who were patrolling the southern borders on December 15, as reported by Sky News Arabia.


The assault came two days after Sudanese Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok cut his visit to Addis Ababa returning to his homeland after a few hours instead of staying for two days. Some media reported that Hamdok offered mediation between the Ethiopian Federal Government and the Trigray People's Liberation Front but his offer was turned down by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.


An Ethiopian delegation arrived in Khartoum on December 22 to discuss the border demarcation matter with the Sudanese side for two days within the framework of the High Joint Committee on Border Issues, as reported by Al Arabiyah.


The meeting is an activation of the committee, and takes place one day after local media reported that the Sudanese Armed Forces was advancing in Al Fashaqa border district occupied by Ethiopia.


The Sudanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs declared on January 11 that an assault against Sudanese villagers was carried out by Ethiopia's Shafta gangs. Those were harvesting crops in Al Qaresha lying five kilometers away from the Ethiopian borders. The attack resulted in the killing of five women and a child. Also, two women disappeared.


Two days later, the ministry announced that an Ethiopian military jet infringed the airspace describing the incident as a "dangerous unjustified escalation" and warning of the consequences embodied in more tensions in the borders area.


The ministry urged the Ethiopian side not to repeat such hostile acts in the future for their negative impact on the future of bilateral relations and security and stability in the Horn of Africa.


Early in January, Sudan’s Irrigation Minister Yasser Abbas has expressed “deep concern” over Ethiopia’s announcement of plans to implement the second filling of the massive Renaissance Dam, SUNA reported.


In a message he sent to AU Chair South Africa, Abbas affirmed his country’s commitment to continue negotiations on the dam under the auspices of the African Union in case a bigger role was given to the AU experts in this regard, the Sudanese official news agency reported.


A tripartite meeting between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia had been terminated earlier due to the absence of Sudan, according to a statement from the Egyptian Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation.


Additional reporting by Noha El Tawil




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