Recent clashes at the Sudan-Ethiopia border in the al-Fashaga region are causing concern for the African Union, which on June 29 called on the two countries for restraint in an effort to prevent large-scale military escalation.
After last week’s serious incident of the killing of seven Sudanese soldiers and one civilian, captives of militias widely referred to as Amhara, Sudan first recalled its ambassador to Addis Ababa and then launched a military attack employing heavy artillery and air support on June 28.
Ethiopia has systematically denied any charges of its own responsibility in the killing of the Sudanese prisoners, confirming the incident but blaming it on “actors interested in derailing the course of the political dialogue between Ethiopia and Sudan,” alluding all too explicitly to a possible role of the TPLF (https://www.france24.com/en/live-news/20220629-au-urges-restraint-over-escalating-ethiopia-sudan-tensions).
Equally categorical, however, has been the denial of the Tigrinos, who instead openly accuse the Amhara Special Forces of responsibility for the crime, in the context of a political project of territorial expansion in the al-Fashaga area, over whose sovereignty the TPLF once again confirms its positions by indisputably attributing it to Sudan (https://borkena.com/2022/07/02/getachew-reda-tplf-makes-sudan-amhara-forces/).
The chairman of the African Union Commission, Chadian Moussa Faki Mahamat, expressed concern on June 29 about the evolving tensions on the Sudan-Ethiopia border, calling on both sides to refrain from any military action and encourage dialogue by all means.
On June 27, it was precisely the Prosperity Party that had called on the African Union to facilitate dialogue between the government of Ethiopia and the authorities of Tigray for a solution to the serious political crisis taking place in the country, in the context of an evolution of the internal dynamics of the federation that seems to be taking on more dramatic connotations by the day (https://www.reuters.com/world/africa/african-union-should-lead-tigray-peace-talks-ethiopias-ruling-party-says-2022-06-27/). Instead, on June 20, the first conference on peace and development in the Horn of Africa region sponsored by the Chinese government was held in Addis Ababa, where leading officials from the Ethiopian federal government and the majority of countries in the region took part. On that occasion, Beijing’s new special envoy for the Horn of Africa, Xue Bing, proposed himself as a mediator of the multiple regional crises, thus changing China’s traditional approach of non-interference in political relations, while marking a decisive step change in Beijing’s policy in the Horn of Africa (https://foreignpolicy.com/2022/06/29/china-ethiopia-horn-of-africa-peace-conference/