East Africa: Ethiopia and Sudan Tackle Border Clashes

Residents of Bahir Dar, the capital of the Amhara regional state, & its environs are rallying in support of PM Abiy Ahmed's reform agenda

Sudan and Ethiopia have chosen dialogue in an attempt to resolve a perennial border crisis caused by clashes over arable land by border communities.

On the sidelines of the 38th extraordinary Summit of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (Igad), leaders of the two countries agreed on bilateral efforts to resolve what they called a bump in their "historical relations."

The clashes are in Al-Fashaqa, on the border of Ethiopia and Sudan, in the Sudanese state of Gedaref which borders both Amhara and Tigray regions of Ethiopia.

Prime ministers Abdallah Hamdok and Ethiopia's Abiy Ahmed met in Djibouti this past week as tensions escalated along their common border.

Faisal Mohamed Saleh, the Sudanese minister for Information and government spokesman said that a joint committee will soon begin discussions in Khartoum. "In the meeting with PM Abiy Ahmed, the situation between the two countries was discussed especially relating to the borders and they reached an agreement that the committee on borders is formed as soon as possible. "Previously, meetings were held with no follow-ups. It was decided that we hold another meeting in Khartoum as soon as possible," Mr Saleh said.

There have been a series of clashes on the border which forced the Sudanese military to send reinforcements, days after an ambush by Ethiopian militia in which Sudanese soldiers were killed.

The Sudanese News Agency said that the Sudanese armed forces continued to advance on the front lines inside Al-Fashaqa. Sudanese troops had been ambushed inside Sudanese territory in the Abu Tuwair area, east of Gedaref state, where four soldiers were killed and 27 wounded.

The clashes date back to the turn of the 1900s following an incomplete demarcation of borders between Britain and Ethiopia then under Emperor Menelik II.

"The two countries are not in a position to escalate the matter and this is evident from the statements of PM Abiy," said Abu Idris a Sudanese political analyst and researcher.

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