Encouraging signs are coming from Sudan and Ethiopia on the dispute over control of the al-Fashaga border area, under Sudanese sovereignty but long inhabited by Ethiopian farmers and ranchers, where violence has been recorded over the past year.

Following last month’s meeting in Kenya between Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and the chairman of Sudan’s Sovereign Transitional Council, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the two political figures confirmed later this week their mutual willingness to meet again to discuss the terms of a possible solution (https://theowp.org/ethiopia-and-sudan-agree-to-border-dispute-dialogue/).

Also on Aug. 23, a national security adviser to South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir, Tut Galtuak Manime, during a visit to Khartoum reiterated his country’s readiness in being a facilitator of meetings between Ethiopia and Sudan over territorial disputes, indirectly confirming the readiness of the two states in the region to discuss the terms of management of the al Fashaga area (http://www.china.org.cn/china/Off_the_Wire/2022-08/23/content_78383955.htm).

A few days earlier, on Aug. 19, the Juba government had signed an agreement with the federal government in Addis Ababa on cooperation in the area of security and counter-terrorism, as part of a meeting between South Sudan’s director general of internal security, Akor Kor Cook, and the director of Ethiopia’s NISS intelligence service, Tamsegen Tiruneh (https://www.theeastafrican.co.ke/tea/business/ethiopia-south-sudan-sign-security-cooperation-agreements-3919608).

Further positive sign in Sudan-Ethiopia relations is that of Khartoum’s response to Addis Ababa’s announcement of the completion of the third phase of filling the reservoir of the GERD dam. Although Sudan has called on Ethiopia not to take unilateral action on the merits of the dam-related issue, and has also called for trilateral talks with Egypt to establish a binding agreement between the parties, authorities in Khartoum have ruled out the possibility of any action against Eritrea (https://english.alaraby.co.uk/news/sudan-says-it-wont-retaliate-over-ethiopia-dam-filling). According to some commentators in the Sudanese press, moreover, the presence of the dam this year would have mitigated the consequences of flooding caused by the copious seasonal rains, preventing greater damage to infrastructure and agricultural areas.


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