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Lt Gen El Burhan: ‘Sudan Armed Forces committed to protect sovereign territory’ 

The Chairman of Sudan’s Transitional Sovereignty Council and Commander of the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF), Lt Gen Abdelfattah El Burhan has affirmed the full commitment of the SAF to protecting the choices of the Sudanese people and protecting the ideals of the revolution. He also warned that Sudan will not give up territory to Ethiopia in disputed border areas.

Addressing soldiers and officers of Omdurman Military Area at the Engineers Corps on Wednesday, El Burhan said that “the SAF aspires to preserve the unity of Sudan and enable the people to enjoy peace, and to live the decent life they deserve”. He vowed that the armed forces will work together with the civilian political forces and peace partners to achieve these goals.

He emphasized the keenness to maintain the nationality, unity, and cohesion of the armed forces, and renewed the pledge to build “a national force that is committed to the principles of the constitution”.

El Burhan also called on the political forces to speed up completion of the governance structures and the Legislative Assembly, in implementation of the requirements of democratic transformation.

Ethiopia

With regard to the eastern borders of the country, he pointed out that “there will be no negotiation unless there is confession by the Ethiopian side that these lands are Sudanese, and marks have been placed on the joint borders”. He affirmed that Sudan will continue to demand that Ethiopian forces withdraw from all Sudanese territory.

Relations between Sudan and Ethiopia are tense as attacks by Ethiopian militiamen in eastern Sudan remain commonplace and negotiations on the GERD continue to face difficulties.

In November 2020, thousands of Ethiopians began to flow across the border into Sudan, fleeing conflict in Ethiopia’s restive Tigray region.

The head of the new UN Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS), UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Sudan, Volker Perthes, confirmed to the UN Security Council (UNSC) in a virtual briefing on March 9 that “Sudan currently hosts one million refugees, including 70,000 recent arrivals from Ethiopia.”

In December 2020, SAF reportedly regained control of the area of Khor Yabis in eastern El Gedaref on the border between Sudan and Ethiopia after 25 years of absence. A military source from El Fashaga confirmed the deployment of the armed forces in half of the area that was formerly occupied by Ethiopian gunmen (called shifta in the region).

In January, the Sudanese Civil Aviation Authority set up a no-fly zone over El Fashaga border area in El Gedaref, after an Ethiopian military warplane entered Sudanese airspace. In Khartoum, political leaders called for the expulsion of the Ethiopian ambassador because of his “provocative statements”.

In February, Sudan summoned its ambassador to Ethiopia, Jamal El Sheikh, for consultation on issues between Khartoum and Addis Ababa, including border demarcation matters.

GERD deadlock

As reported by Radio Dabanga this week, PM Hamdok has written a letter to the African Union, the United Nations, the European Union, and the USA to request formation of a ‘quartet committee’ to mediate in the negotiations of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). The US State Dept has already responded that the USA will continue to support efforts to resolve the disagreement on the GERD and encourage the resumption of a productive dialogue.

In a new report by the official Sudan News Agency (SUNA) today, the head of the Sudanese technical negotiating team on the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam Engineer Mustafa Hussein Al-Zubair has affirmed that Sudan has received very positive responses from all parties that were invited to quartet mediation in the Renaissance Dam talks, namely the United Nations, the European Union and the United States of America in addition to the African Union, which is sponsoring the negotiations.

He added that all parties welcomed Sudan’s call for the quartet mediation, which is strongly supported by Egypt, and the international parties expressed their willingness to play the role of facilitating the negotiations and mediation in it and providing their technical, legal and political expertise to bring the points of view of the three countries closer together.

Last year, border demarcation talks between Sudanese and Ethiopian government delegations in Khartoum concluded without an agreement as the Ethiopian delegation reportedly refused to recognize the 1903 border demarcation, noting that the British-Ethiopian treaty on the border was signed in colonial times.

Source: Dabanga

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