Ethiopia calls to convene special committee to settle border dispute with Sudan

(KHARTOUM) - The Ethiopian government on Tuesday called for a meeting of a joint special committee to discuss an amicable solution for the border dispute with Sudan under a bilateral agreement clinched in 1972.

The call brushes aside the Sudanese position which calls to begin border demarcation between the two countries, pointing that all the political and technical issues have been definitely settled since 2011.

Reports from the border area on Tuesday confirmed the troop build-up from the other side of the border, as Sudanese farmers confirmed to the Sudan Tribune that more Ethiopian troops are now massed along the border in several areas.

Dina Mufti, the spokesperson of the Ethiopian foreign ministry on Tuesday told reporters that following the 1902 border agreement the area North of Mount Dagleish remained controversial and disputed because the Ethiopian side did not participate in the demarcation process of 1903.

However, the two sides, according to Mufti, agreed in a deal struck in 1972 to "proceed the re-demarcation process from Mount Dagleish southwards" and to settle the issue of land cultivation.

"The Joint Special Committee which was formed according to the (1972) Exchange of notes shall be reactivated to reconvene its meeting and submit its final report recommending an amicable solution to the appropriate body," said the Ethiopian diplomat.

"It is, therefore, essential that the finding of an amicable solution has to be accomplished prior to the re-demarcation of the Gwynn line in the sector north of Mount Dagleish," he further stressed.

The Sudanese foreign ministry on Tuesday condemned the killing of six of its national by Ethiopian paramilitary forces and called on the Addis Ababa to cease such attacks immediately.

The Sudanese government also engaged a diplomatic campaign to counter the Ethiopian position its historical lecture of the situation.

Muaz Tango, the head of the National Border Commission will hold a briefing for the foreign diplomats in Khartoum to brief them on the border dispute in Eastern Sudan.

An international expert told the Sudan Tribune that the 1972 deal exchanged by the former Ethiopian Foreign Minister Minasse Haile and his Sudanese counterpart Mansour Khaled clearly provides that acceptance of the Ethiopian government of the border demarcation of 1902.

The expert further said that at the current level of talks what the two countries have to do is to place the border marker stones because the joint political committee in 2011 endorsed the outcome of the technical teams conducted in 2010.

"Also, the deal was approved by the Sudanese president and Ethiopian premier minister on December 4, 2013. So, what the two countries have to do is to place the border markers," he stressed.

On 22-23 December, the joint political committee between the two countries held a meeting in Khartoum to discuss the ongoing tensions but failed to reach an agreement.

Sudan demanded to begin border demarcation while Ethiopia called for financial compensation for its farmers after what talks can resume on the border demarcation.

Source: Sudan Tribune

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