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Turkey wants to mediate Ethiopia and Sudan border dispute

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Ethiopia has not disclosed if it has accepted Turkey’s offer for mediation with Sudan, with whom it has a border dispute 

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Turkish Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (Photo : OPM )

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Turkey hosted the leaders of Sudan and Ethiopia in an interval of less than a week. It was Abdel Fattah  al-Burhan, Sudanse leader, who had two days of working visit last week. 

And yesterday, Ethiopian Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, had a one-day working visit which he described as “precious time.” 

Turkey has signed economic and military cooperation agreements with both countries.  

Furthermore, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has offered to mediate Sudan and Ethiopia. He expressed that “Turkey was willing to mediate between Ethiopia and Sudan to resolve a separate border dispute,” as reported by the Associated Press. 

Sudanese media did not report if Al-Burhan was offered Turkey mediation to resolve the dispute with Ethiopia when he was visiting last week. 

It is unclear as to what Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed responded to the Turkish leader regarding the mediation. 

There had been offers of mediation from South Sudan soon after Sudanese forces occupied Ethiopian territories in November 2020, which Ethiopia declined for two reasons. Ethiopia is inclined to see the dispute as something that could be resolved in bilateral talks with Sudan. 

Also, Ethiopia required the withdrawal of Sudanese forces from all occupied Ethiopian territories before talks on the disputed border. 

Sudan is hosting tens of thousands of Ethiopian refugees who crossed the border after the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) triggered the war. 

At least 30,000 TPLF forces are believed to have crossed the border after they lost battles with the Ethiopian defense force in late November. 

There are unconfirmed reports that Sudan is arming and training TPLF forces in a bid to support what many call  a proxy war against Ethiopia via the agency of the TPLF. 

Furthermore, Sudan has already started building military settlements and developing infrastructure in the occupied  Ethiopian territory. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia has condemned the move, but has not taken any military action so far. 

Ethiopian forces are primarily occupied with reversing TPLF attacks in the Afar and Amhara regions of Ethiopia, as well as protecting the Benishangul Gumuz area where the GERD project is located. 

In May 2021, the Ethiopian parliament labelled TPLF and the Oromo Liberation Front armed wing (OLF Shane) as terrorist organizations. The two organizations have recently announced a military alliance with stated objective to topple Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government.  

Apart from a border dispute, Sudan and Ethiopia have developed differences over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). The former has been pushing ,along with Egypt,  to get a binding agreement over the Nile before Ethiopia undertakes the second filling of the dam – which Ethiopia already completed in July of this year. 

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