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Deputy Chairman of Sudan Sovereignty Council makes rare visit to Ethiopia

Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, known as Hemedti, the deputy chairman of Sudan's Sovereign Council, launched a two-day official visit to Ethiopia to discuss bilateral relations.

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On Saturday, Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, known as Hemedti, the deputy chairman of Sudan’s Sovereign Council, launched a two-day official visit to Ethiopia to discuss bilateral relations.

The Sudanese official’s visit to Addis Ababa is a first between the two countries since the outbreak of the border dispute between Sudan and Ethiopia.

According to Dagalo’s office, the talks would focus on bilateral relations between the two countries and measures to enhance them to suit the interests of both parties.

Dagalo would spend two days in Ethiopia meeting “various Ethiopian officials,” according to Sudan’s state news agency SUNA.

Due to a territorial dispute over the disputed Al-Fashaqa border region, where Ethiopian farmers cultivate fertile land claimed by Sudan, relations between Khartoum and Addis Ababa have deteriorated.

Ethiopia and Sudan share a 1,600-kilometer (994-mile) shared border, however, there are concerns about the al-Fashaga Triangle, a long-disputed boundary with no clear demarcation.

After the Sudanese army secured the contested al-Fashaga area in December 2020, Dagalo is the first high Sudanese official to visit Addis Ababa following the escalation of a border dispute between the two neighbors.

Also, al-Fashaga shares a border with Ethiopia’s unstable Tigray area, where tens of thousands of Ethiopians have fled violence.

The two countries, along with Egypt, are also at odds over Addis Ababa’s construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on the Blue Nile, a major tributary of the Nile River.

Ethiopia’s Renaissance Dam represents an existential threat to the two downstream countries, which rely on the river for the majority of their water. Khartoum and Addis Ababa are both in the midst of a crisis.

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