Sudan’s Ambassador to Ethiopia has been recalled, the Sudanese foreign ministry announced Sunday, citing Addis Ababa’s rejection of Sudan’s efforts to negotiate a ceasefire in war-torn Tigray. Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, who is also the chair of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), said he wants to encourage all Ethiopian factions to reach a ceasefire agreement and engage in thorough political talks, according to the ministry statement. However, Ethiopian officials warned last week that their faith in certain of Sudan’s leaders had been “eroded,” and that the Sudanese army had launched an “incursion” into their land.
Fighting has raged in northern Ethiopia since Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed dispatched soldiers to depose the region’s ruling party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). Hundreds of thousands of Ethiopians have fled to Sudanese refugee camps to flee a conflict that has pushed 400,000 people into famine-like conditions, according to the UN.
The contested border region of Al-Fashaga, a lush stretch traditionally cultivated by Ethiopian farmers but claimed by Sudan, has also worsened relations between Khartoum and Addis Ababa. Billene Seyoum, the spokesperson for Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, said the issue “needs to be thoroughly addressed before Sudan could be entertained as a credible party in terms of facilitating such kind of negotiations.”
Sudan’s foreign ministry, on Sunday, said it had “followed statements made by senior Ethiopian officials refusing Sudan’s help to end the bloody conflict in Tigray, citing a lack of neutrality and Sudan’s occupation of Ethiopian territories,” the ministry statement read. The statements were denounced as “baseless allegations,” adding that “Sudan has recalled its envoy to Ethiopia for discussions.”
The two countries are also at war over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), which has been the subject of a regional controversy since Addis Ababa began construction in 2011. Egypt and Sudan, both downstream states, are concerned that the Blue Nile mega-dam may endanger the waterways they rely on.