(Source: Sudan Tribune, Khartoum)
The Sudanese government has strongly rejected accusations that its military component is serving the interest of a third country and alluded to the involvement of the Eritrean troops in the ongoing border dispute with Ethiopia.
On Thursday, Ethiopia accused the Sudanese army of seeking to plunge Sudan into border war serving the interests of a “third country”, alluding to Egypt which is opposed to the construction of a giant dam in Ethiopia that may threaten its water supply.
On Sunday, the Sudanese foreign ministry issued a virulent response to this statement, hinting that Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Ethiopia, Demeke Mekonnen who is an Amhara seeks through this conflict to defend the interests of the Amhara Region and jeopardizes the interests of Ethiopia.
“The Sudanese-Ethiopian borders were never a source of conflict (between the two countries) until the coming to the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs of someone who uses it to serve interests and purposes of a specific ethnic group. To achieve it, he is ready to gamble with the great interests of the Ethiopian people, their security and stability (…),” said the Sudanese foreign ministry.
Ethiopia’s King Menelik II and the British administration, the colonial power in Sudan, signed a border demarcation agreement in 1902, 1903. Also in 1972, the two countries signed another agreement to complete the previous deal.
The Sudanese foreign ministry said that Ethiopia can seek international and regional legal mechanisms to prove its claims in the border areas that it has previously recognized.
Ethiopia has called for new talks on border demarcation, a matter that Sudan refuses.
Furthermore, the Sudanese foreign ministry went to dismiss statements of the Ethiopian foreign ministry that the military component was serving the Egyptian interests and seeks to ignite a war to allow the destruction of the giant hydropower dam on the border with Sudan.
“Contrary to what was stated in the Ethiopian Foreign Ministry statement, all components of the Sudanese people and its military and civilian leadership are united in their stance and full support for extending Sudan’s control and sovereignty over all of its territories according to the recognized borders that are supported by international agreements and conventions,” said the statement.
“What the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs cannot deny is the (involvement of) a third party whose forces entered Sudanese territory with the aggressive Ethiopian forces,” further said the Sudanese foreign ministry, alluding to the participation of the Eritrean army in the border conflict with Ethiopia.
Last November, Eritrea retook control of the Badme area which was the cause of the war with Ethiopia from May 1998 to June 2000.
The Eritrean troops also entered into Tigray region and fought against the TPLF fighters in support of the Amhara forces deployed in the northern region.
Recently, Sudanese military intelligence reported the deployment of Eritrean troops on the border with Kassala state. In addition, The Eritrean forces moved south to the border with Sudan from the Amhara region.
It was also noticed that the Eritrean foreign minister and the Eritrean presidential adviser have stopped their regular visits to Khartoum since January.
The Sudanese foreign ministry said they are no longer trust the presence of some 5376 Ethiopian troops in the country within the frame of the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA).
“Sudan cannot trust Ethiopia and the Ethiopian forces to help establish peace in the country, while the aggressive Ethiopian troops come across the border,” further said the statement.
In an agreement reached on 20 June 2011, the Sudanese government and the SPLM agreed to withdraw their respective forces from the Abyei area and allow the deployment of Ethiopian peacekeepers until un agreement is reached on the organisation of the self-determination referendum of the area which remains under Sudanese sovereignty.
The foreign ministry did not disclose if they undertake consultations with Juba to demand the replacement of the Ethiopian troops who are no longer welcomed in Abyei.
Sudan and Ethiopia have already recalled their respective ambassadors for consultations, a measure which is perceived in the diplomatic law as a sign of deteriorated relations between the two countries.