Despite rejection from Addis Ababa, Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok has said his country will continue pushing for a peaceful solution to end the conflict in Ethiopia.
He said Sudan had reached out to all sides in a bid to end the conflict.
“We will continue to exert all efforts for Ethiopia to become stable, unified and secure,” Hamdok said in a press conference in Khartoum on Sunday.
Hamdok called on all parties to the conflict to embrace a peaceful process to end the conflict in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region.
Hamdok, who also is the chairman of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (Igad), said his initiative to mediate between the warring Ethiopian parties within the regional bloc’s framework is still in place.
On August 6, Addis Ababa rejected Sudan’s initiative to mediate between Tigrayan rebels, Tgray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and the central government, saying Khartoum is not trustworthy to mediate while illegally occupying Ethiopian territories thus straining relations.
“The relationship with Sudan at this point is a little bit tricky because the level of trust with some leaders has already been eroded particularly with the Sudanese army’s incursion into Ethiopian territory,” said Billene Seyoum, the Ethiopian prime minister’s spokesperson.
“Trust is the basis of any negotiation, any mediation as well, so that element needs to be thoroughly addressed before Sudan could be entertained as a credible party in terms of facilitating such kind of negotiations” she added.
Last week, Sudan recalled its ambassador to Ethiopia for “consultations” after Addis Ababa rebuffed the mediation initiative.
Hamdok stressed that the purpose of his initiative was meant to maintain the unity and stability of Ethiopia.
“This is a country that has 110 million population. Can you imagine if the state collapsed?” he said at yesterday’s press conference.
He further argued that Sudan cannot watch a worsening conflict situation next door without trying to find a solution as it will eventually impact his country.
Billene said Sudan must first withdraw its troops from Ethiopian territories before playing any mediation roles.
Sudan has taken control of most of the land, up to 60 kilometres inside Ethiopia, which it alleges had previously been annexed by its neighbour.
Tensions along the common border flared in December last year, one month after the outbreak of the Tigray conflict.
Disputes over the agricultural land of al-Fashaga, which falls within Sudan’s international boundaries, coupled with unsettled dispute over Ethiopia’s controversial Nile dam project has strained relations between the two neighbours.
A few weeks ago, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken met with Prime Minister Hamdock to discuss the escalation of fighting in northern Ethiopia and the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the Tigray region.
Since the conflict in Tigray region broke out last November, over 60,000 people have fled to Sudan.