JUBA (SUDAN TRIBUNE) – The South Sudanese government said it has drawn up a mediation plan to resolve the border conflict between Sudan and Ethiopia, citing the acceptance of the two countries over Juba’s neutral role.
South Sudan’s Presidential Adviser on Security Affairs, Tut Gatluak Manime, said that President Salva Kiir has been coordinating efforts with Sudan through the African Union and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to encourage the two sides to restrain from escalating conflict.
Since 2020, border clashes between Ethiopia and Sudan have raised tension.
Tensions further escalated after Sudan recently accused Ethiopia of executing seven of its troops. The Ethiopian authorities denied the allegations, and instead blamed vigilante guards and the border-based tribal militiamen.
Manime revealed that he had asked the Ethiopian leadership during his recent visit to exercise self-control and allow the region an opportunity to look at how the dispute could be resolved amicably.
Also, he appealed for a “complete refrain from any military action, whatever its origins,” and called for dialogue between the two neighbours to resolve the dispute peacefully.
Observers with direct knowledge of the situation in Jabal Kala al-Laban said that the border area is now under the control of Sudanese troops, which used military means including using heavy artillery to expel the Ethiopian militiamen.
Manime said that a large-scale conflict was unlikely because both countries are politically and economically grappling with internal issues and a conflict that would divert resources could have disastrous effects, on both human and financial resources.
He stressed that people in Ethiopia, South Sudan and Sudan have suffered enough from armed conflicts and war and it’s high time for them to settle their disputes peacefully particularly when they have historical and deeply rooted relations.
“You know his excellency is the only president in the region who speaks from the heart to these leaders because these leaders in Sudan and Ethiopia are people he knows in person before getting into the leadership. So, they listened to him. Now, he has drawn up a plan to mediate the talks, with the support of Kenyan and Uganda,” disclosed Manime.
He said if war happens, it will worsen the already bad humanitarian situation in both countries, and trigger more influx of refugees and displaced people.
It would also further impact the situation in Djibouti, Somalia, and South Sudan amid an expected hunger crisis in the Horn of Africa region.
Clashes pitting the security forces of the two countries have always occurred around the al-Fashaqa region, where land disputes between Sudanese and Ethiopian farmers have been simmering for decades.
Hostilities spiked in 2021, causing tension and intermittent military intervention on both sides.
Authorities have attempted to resolve the matter but have not taken a serious approach to settle the dispute.
South Sudan and other countries in the region feel the difference could escalate into broader security and humanitarian crisis if not addressed.