Ethiopia warns Sudan it is running out of patience over border dispute
Ethiopia warned Sudan on Tuesday that, despite attempts to diffuse tensions with diplomacy, it was running out of patience with its neighbor’s continued military build-up in a disputed border area.
Late last year, the decades-old dispute over al-Fashqa, land within Sudan’s international boundaries that Ethiopian farmers have long settled, erupted into weeks of clashes between forces on both sides.
“The Sudanese side seems to be pushing in so as to inflame the situation on the ground,” Ethiopian foreign ministry spokesman Dina Mufti told reporters. “Is Ethiopia going to start a war? Well, we are saying let’s work on diplomacy.”
“How long will Ethiopia continue to resolve the issue using diplomacy? Well, there is nothing that has no limit. Everything has a limit,” he told a briefing in Addis Ababa.
Faisal Mohamed Saleh, Sudan’s information minister and government spokesman, said the country did not want a war with Ethiopia, but would respond to any aggression by its forces.
“We fear that these comments contain a hostile position towards Sudan. We ask of Ethiopia to stop attacking Sudanese territory and Sudanese farmers, ”
Sudan’s foreign ministry later condemned what it called an attack by Ethiopian “gangs” on Monday in al-Fashqa, five kilometers (three miles) from the border. Five women and one child were killed, and two other women were missing from the harvest, it said.
On Dec. 31, Sudan said it had taken control of all of the Sudanese territory in the area. Ethiopia says Sudan took advantage of its forces to occupy Ethiopian land and loot property, distracted by the Tigray conflict.
In a report last week on the humanitarian situation in Tigray, the United Nations said that there had been reports of a military build-up on both sides of the border around the area. At a time when Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt are also trying to resolve a three-way row over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam of Ethiopia, the border tensions come.
According to Reuters Africa, the dam is seen by Ethiopia as key to plans to become the largest power exporter in Africa. Egypt, which gets more than 90 percent of its scarce fresh water from the Nile, fears its economy might be devastated by the dam across the Blue Nile.
On Sunday, Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan said they had reached a new impasse in the dispute. Sudanese objections to the framework for the talks were separately blamed by Egypt and Ethiopia.
Ethiopia’s Dina criticised Egypt and Sudan on Tuesday for delaying the negotiations. “Are the two speaking the same language? More or less. The two are speaking the same language when it comes to stalling it.”