January 20, 2021 (KHARTOUM) – Ethiopia dismissed statements by the head of the Sovereign Council about a bilateral agreement to deploy the Sudanese troops on the border before “the law enforcement operation in Tigray”.
On 16 January, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan disclosed he had agreed with the Ethiopian Prime Minister to close the Sudanese borders to prevent any infiltration to and from Sudan by the TPLF fighters.
On his weekly press briefing on Wednesday, Ethiopian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Dina Mufti told reporters that they were surprised that Sudanese military officials misinterpret “friendly talks for cooperation along the borderlines of Ethiopia as a green light to encroach into Ethiopian lands”.
“It should be clear that our government is responsible and sensitive to the sovereignty of the country and could not agree, by any means, to let a third party occupy Ethiopian lands,” Mufti further stressed.
During his speech last Saturday, al-Burhan said the Sudanese armed forces have been deployed within the international borders.
Sudanese officials strongly rejected to Mufti past statements about the occupation of Ethiopian territory. They further said there are still two border areas they demand that the Ethiopian army withdraws its troops from it.
No need for South Sudan’s mediation
The Ethiopian diplomat also declined the South Sudanese offer to mediate the border dispute between the two countries
“We have heard that some countries have expressed readiness to mediate between Sudan and Ethiopia on the border issues,” Mufti said in a statement about the South Sudanese initiative.
He added that there is no need for such an offer because they did not refuse to discuss the matter directly with the Sudanese authorities.
“In this regard, as we have repeatedly said, had it not been for our firm stand to carry out negotiations with Sudan on the border issues, it would have been relevant to invite third parties to mediate the two countries”.
Nonetheless, he requested the withdrawal of the Sudanese army from the “Ethiopian” territory before to hold bilateral talks on the border issue.