Ethiopia and Sudan urge cooperation to stop border violence

U.S. & World

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — Ethiopia says a recent violent incident that flared up along the border with Sudan should be addressed by diplomatic discussions.

For its part, Sudan’s military says that the two countries should deploy a joint force to patrol the border to prevent any violence.

The statements from Ethiopia and Sudan came Sunday after Sudan summoned Ethiopia’s diplomat in Khartoum over the cross-border attack last week that was allegedly carried out by a militia backed by Ethiopia’s military.

At least one Sudanese army officer and one child were killed in an attack on Thursday by an Ethiopian militia group in Sudan’s eastern al-Qadarif province, according to Sudan’s military. Another Sudanese officer and three civilians were wounded in the incident, according to the Sudanese statement.

Ethiopia’s foreign ministry issued a statement on Sunday saying that “the two countries should work together through existing military mechanisms to address and jointly investigate circumstances surrounding the incident,” adding that the two countries should not descend in to hostility.

“We are of the view that such incidents are best addressed through diplomatic discussion based on the cordial and friendly relations and peaceful coexistence between the two countries,” said the Ethiopian statement.

In Sudan, Brig. Amer Mohammed al-Hassan, a spokesman for Sudan’s military, on Sunday called for Ethiopian forces to stop their alleged support to the militias and to prevent them from entering Sudanese territory. He suggested deploying a joint force to the border area.

“This could solve the issue,” he was quoted as saying by the Arabic language version of Sky News.

Sudan’s foreign ministry had earlier urged Ethiopia’s government to “take necessary measures to stop these attacks.”

Ethiopian farmers have for years planted crops in Sudan’s al-Fashqa border area and that was tolerated by the government of former President Omar al-Bashir. But Sudanese transitional authorities, who took over after the military’s ouster of al-Bashir last year, have recently engaged in talks with Ethiopia to encourage Ethiopian farmers to withdraw from Sudanese territory.

Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan, head of Sudan’s ruling sovereign council, toured the border area last month after an attack. Since the visit, Khartoum has deployed more troops to its eastern border with Ethiopia to stop incursions.

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AP journalist Samy Magdy in Cairo contributed to this report.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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