BY KFLEEYESUS ABEBE
Ethiopia has been prioritizing peace, mutual benefit, win-win approach and firm cooperation for self betterment and developement as well as that of its counterparts. Besides, its dealings attach prime focus on neigbouring countries as its interests revolving around serenity, tranquility and common growth are very much intertwined with them than others. Furthermore, the country values the strong cultural and historical bond set up with with neighbouring countries. With this understanding and spirit, Ethiopia has been protecting and developing its relation with neighbouring countries.
Ethiopia’s relation with Sudan is so examplary as both are cooperating in many fields such as cross border trade, investment and shared business transaction. The transboundary river—Nile—has been linking them since long back. They have also stretched helping hands when need arises. For instance, Sudan has been a safe haven for Ethiopian patriots and Ethiopian refugees for many times. It has been a route to different European countries and to the USA while Ethiopians seek refugee. On the other hand, Ethiopia has recently done everything in its capacity for Sudanese parties to negotiate and make country’s transition sucessful. This effort has been acknowledged by Sudanese people and the international community, too.
But this doesn’t mean that their relation has always revolved around rosy trajectories as their relation has been tested by many things throughout time. As political instablity has recently rocked Sudan, it had affected Ethiopia in many ways including triggering a border issue. Ethiopia however has been patient and was expecting Sudan to evaluate its stance and come to table for peaceful soultion to the problems happen thereby reinvigorating an improved relation on both sides.
A change of atmosphere is now seem to be coming from Sudanese side too as Vice- President of the Sovereignty Council of the Republic of Sudan Gen. Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo paid a visit to Ethiopia a week before. The Ethiopian government postively recieved vice president’s visit and accorded a warm welcome. The vice president accordingly visited many places and met several Ethiopian officials. Ethiopian Defense Minister Abraham Belay (PhD) had discussion with Gen. Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo. Abraham stated that during the discussion the two stressed need to close partnership between Ethiopia and Sudan. Gen. Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo also discussed bilateral issues of mutual interest between Ethiopia and Sudan with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD).
Speaking about vice president’s visit, Ethiopian Foreign Affirms Ministry spokesperson ambassdor Dina Mufti said the visit will help smoothen the relation of the two countries that was being at risk for a year plus. Recounting Ethiopia and Sudan’s agelong historical and people to people realtion, ambassdor Dina stressed that recent challenges would be solved in a peaceful way that has taken the past relations in to consideration. The spokesperson is also hopeful that the visit of the vice president wil play a constructive role in amending the relations between the two countries. Once this acheived, he stressed, the relation will sustain and develop in the years to come.
Sudanese Ambassdor to Ethiopia Jamal El Sheikh has similar views on the impact of the visit and Sudan’s commitment to uphod its longstanding relationship with Ethiopia. Speaking to AlAin News, Ambassdor Jamal said the current border issue between Ethiopia and Sudan would only be solved by poltical and diplmatic means. “ On top of diplomatic relation, we have a strong people to people ties.
Therefore, both countries believe this wouldn’t be changed as governments come and go.” He is optimist that the current border issue won’t be an impeidment to shadow or harm their multifaceted relations. Commenting on whether Sudan is aiding terrorist TPLF, the ambassador said that his country has no intention of engaging in proxy war. “Yes, we hear a blame that Sudan is helping terrorist TPLF. But I would like to assure you that this isn’t our policy, strategy or stance. Sudan won’t interfere in the internal affairs of another country. This is due to our conviction that proxy war won’t help anyone. This isn’t even an option at all.”
Ambassdor Jamal says Sudan’s interest is rather to see Ethiopia back to its peace and both countries reach their relation to a new level. He also wished that national dialgue of Ethiopia to succed and Ethiopia to find durable peace.
The release of 25 Sudanese prisoners from Ethiopian prisions, the reopening of Ethio- Sudanese border for trade and Sudan’s permit for Ethiopian vichles to transport gas from it can be tangible evidence for the two sides interest to normalize their relation.
According to Dire Dawa University Lecturer and Researcher Surafel Getahun, the recent official visit of vice president of Sudan’s Transitional Sovereign Council Gen. Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo (Hemidti) to Ethiopia shows the two countries readiness and the chance for renewal of relation. Surafel attributes the developemnt to Ethiopia’s patience and strong commitment to regional peace and security.
“Some foreign forces have been using the Sudanese army to achieve their political interest, and pushing Sudan into conflict with Ethiopia,” the academician said, adding that everyone knows that the Sudanese troops have crossed Ethiopian territory and taken control of some areas. However, the Sudanese people have been protesting against their army’s move. “If Ethiopia retaliated when Sudanese troops crossed the Ethiopian border, there would be worse problems in the region, he indicated. “Ethiopia’s patience and determination to resolve problems peacefully has significantly contributed to regional peace,” he added.
Therfore, Surafel believes that the recent visit of the vice president to Ethiopia is an indication that Ethiopia’s commitment towards resolving the Ethio–Sudan border dispute peacefully with a view to yielding positive results and reinvigorating the longstanding relations between the two sisterly countries. Their relations will show progress and both ides would benefit out of peace deal is close talks are entertained within the shortest time possible.
The promising begining of normalization of relation between Ethiopia and Sudan plays significant role in the peace and stability of the region. To the least it would contain and avert larger crisis that has been potentially rampant in the region. On the other hand, it provides chance to cooperate and find solutuion to their respective internal issues, too.
Ethiopia and Sudan are now anticpated to sort out their differences including border issue through dialogue and negotiation. In doing so, they can emerge as strong and play crucial role in the negotiation of the Grand Ethiopian Renassance Dam (GERD). Their trade and investment relation that was affected by such issues can be restored. Such bold measures respect the spirit of neighborhoodness and raise the historical and people to people relations of the two countries to a new level.
Generally, the effort geared towards revitalizing Ethio-Sudan relations is of paramount importance in sustainably ensuring regional peace apart from reinvigorating their longstanding bilateral relations and people-to-people relations.
The February 2/2022