Sudanese Troops Continue to Invade Ethiopian Farmlands

ADDIS ABEBA – The Sudanese government has continued forcefully deploying troops on Ethiopia territory, driving many farmers out of their farmlands, Ministry of foreign affairs said.

“We know that the Sudanese troops are invading our land and driving farmers from their farms,” said Ambassador Dina Mufti, spokesperson of the Ministry. “But we are still trying to solve the problem through diplomacy,” he told reporters on Tuesday.



Experts say Sudan’s latest move violates the agreement the two countries signed in 1972, which stipulates for the situation on the ground to carry on until the two countries reach a lasting solution to the border issue.

However, Khartoum saw the law enforcement operation in the northern Ethiopian region as an opportunity to invade the farm lands alongside the border of the two nations.

The Ethiopian government said Sudanese troops begin organized attacks using heavy machine guns and armored convoys on farm land in the border areas starting from Nov. 9, 2020.

They are still pushing to take over much of the disputed land – a move, Ambassador Dina described as, a violation of international law.

When asked if Ethiopia has a plan to push back, Dina said tolerance has its limit.

Historical Accounts

– 1902: boundary treaty in delimiting the Ethio-Sudan border was signed between the Government of Ethiopia and British Colonial administration of Sudan. The treaty declared the establishment of a Joint Boundary Commission for the demarcation of the common boundary.

– 1903: the representative of British (Major Gwynn) unilaterally carried out the demarcation process without the presence or the authorization of the Ethiopian Government. As a result, the Gwynn demarcation particularly in the area North of Mount Dagleish remained controversial and disputed.

– 1972: In order to solve the long overdue boundary dispute between the two countries, Ethiopia and Sudan through their Foreign Ministers Exchange of Notes. It stipulates for the two countries  to proceed the re-demarcation process from Mount Dagleish southwards; to study the problem resulting from settlements and cultivation by nationals of either nation in the territory of the other with a view to finding an amicable solution.

Two months after the signing of the Notes, the Foreign Minister of Sudan wrote a letter to Ethiopia informing the later that the government of the Sudan had written a letter to the then Chairman of the Organization of African Unity(OAU) informing that the conclusion of an agreement governing the longest frontier between the two African countries.

In addition to this, they informed Ethiopia that the government of the Sudan had ratified and deposited the 1972 Exchange of Notes in accordance with article 102 of the United Nation Charter.

The 1972 Exchange of Notes clearly envisages finding an amicable solution for the problem resulting from cultivation and settlement is a prerequisite for the re-demarcation of the Gwynn Line north of Mount Daeglish.

– 1974: Immediately after the signing of the 1972 Exchange of Notes both countries set up a joint boundary commission tore-demarcate the boundary south of Mount Dagleish. But due to change of government in 1974 in Ethiopia the agreed upon re-demarcation project did not materialize.

– 2000: both Ethiopia and the Sudan decided to implement the 1972 Exchange of Notes and establish a Joint Special Committee that was mandated to find an amicable solution for the problem resulting from settlement and cultivation in the area north of Mount Dagleish.

Moreover, both countries agreed and set up Joint Boundary Commission (JBC) and Joint Technical Boundary Committee (JTBC) to re-demarcate the boundary line between the two countries, based on the amicable solution of the Joint Special Committee, particularly for the boundary sector north of Mount Dagleish.

The Joint Special Committee, even though it held eight meetings, it did not complete its task given to it under the 1972 Exchange of Note and its Terms of Reference adopted by the agreement of our two countries.

– 2005: while negotiation was ongoing the two countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in 2005, a supplementary to the 1972 one, give temporary solution to a specific challenge until a final agreement is reached on the amicable solution that the two countries will agree on.

– 2020: Sudanese troops begin organized attacks using heavy machine guns and armored convoys on farm land in the border areas starting from Nov. 9, 2020 and the troops are still pushing to invade more farm lands.

By Mhret G/kristos

 

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