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AU calls for restraint amid “escalating” tensions between Ethiopia and Sudan

#calls #restraint #escalating #tensions #Ethiopia #Sudan

The head of the African Union Commission on Wednesday expressed concern over “escalating military tensions” between Ethiopia and Sudan, calling for restraint and dialogue.

Moussa Faki Mahamat’s comments follow claims by Khartoum that the Ethiopian army executed seven Sudanese soldiers and a civilian in an incident in a volatile border region last week – claims that Addis Ababa has dismissed.

Faki “follows with deep concern the escalating military tensions between the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and the Republic of Sudan and deeply regrets the loss of life on their shared border,” the AU said in a statement.

“The Chairman appeals for the complete cessation of any military action, regardless of its origin, and calls for dialogue between the two brotherly countries to resolve any disputes.”

Sudan accused Ethiopia of capturing the soldiers on June 22 in Al-Fashaqa, a fertile strip at the center of a bitter border dispute between the two neighbors.

Khartoum recalled its ambassador to Addis Ababa on Monday and promised to lodge a complaint with the UN Security Council and regional organizations.

Addis Ababa said Tuesday that Sudanese forces had entered Ethiopian territory and that the casualties were attributed to a skirmish with a local militia, and denied their soldiers were in the area at the time.

The Sudan Tribune newspaper reported that the Sudanese army launched an attack on Ethiopian troops in the area of ​​Al-Fashaqa on Tuesday, but army spokesman Nabil Abdalla denied this.

“We have not attacked anyone and we will not and we do not plan to. But we will not allow armed forces from another country to cross our international border. It is our right to deal with it,” he told AFP Khartoum.

Relations between Khartoum and Addis Ababa have soured over Al-Fashaqa, which is close to Ethiopia’s troubled Tigray region.

Al-Fashaqa has long been cultivated by Ethiopian farmers but is claimed by Sudan and the dispute has sparked sporadic clashes between the Sudanese and Ethiopian sides, some of which have been fatal.

The rift around Al-Fashaqa is fueling wider land and water tensions between the neighbors, particularly fueled by Ethiopia’s mega-dam on the Blue Nile.

Sudan and Egypt, both downstream countries, have opposed the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam and pushed for an agreement to fill the reservoir and operate the dam.

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