After recent cross border incursions, authorities in Addis Ababa believe diplomacy can lead the search for an amicable solution.
The Ethiopian government has expressed its deep sympathy and condolences to the fa- milies of victims of both countries following several cross border battles that left two people dead and many others injured. In a statement issued by the country's foreign ministry, the government said, "In the spirit of containing the situation on the ground and avoiding any further tension, we are of the view that such incidents are best addressed through diplomatic discussion based on the cordial and friendly relation and peaceful coexistence between the two countries." The ministry pleaded. The statement came barely 24-hours after Sudan's Foreign Ministry said it summoned Ethiopia's diplomat to the country over a cross-border attack allegedly conducted by a militia backed by Ethiopia's military. Thursday's attack in the Eastern Province of al-Qadarif killed at least one officer and one child, Sudan's military said in a statement. Seven Sudanese troops, including an officer, and three civilians were also wounded. For several years, Ethiopian farmers have planted crops in Sudan's al-Fashqa border area but the government of former President Omar al-Bashir had tolerated the incursions. Sudanese transitional authorities, who took over after the military's ouster of al-Bashir, have recently engaged in talks with Ethiopia to stop Ethiopian farmers. According to Brig. Amer Mohammed al-Hassan, spokesman for the Sudanese military, clashes started when a militia backed by Ethiopia's military attempted to carry water from the Atbara River, setting off a heavy exchange of fire with Sudanese forces guarding the area. The militia retreated and then came back with a contingent from the Ethiopian military, and they attacked the Sudanese with machine guns, sniper rifles and RPGs, Hassan said. Thursday cross border attacks are the second within a week, despite both governments resolved to meet for the second round of talks in the Sudanese capital Khartoum. Border tensions between the two countries have heated up recently with repeated attacks targeting Sudanese troops. Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan, head of Sudan's ruling sovereign council, toured the border area last month after an attack. Since the visit, Khartoum has deployed more troops to its eastern border with Ethiopia to stop incursions. Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed later sent his military chief of staff Lt. Gen. Adam Mohamed Mahmoud to Khartoum to meet with top Sudanese military and government officials in efforts to ease the tensions .