Addis Ababa, 1 July 2022 (TDI): The African Union Commission (AUC) and Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) called for restraint on the Ethiopia-Sudan conflict.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday, AU and IGAD also called for dialogue amidst rising tensions between the two countries. The reason for the rising aggravation is that seven Sudanese soldiers and one civilian died in the contested Al-Fashaqa area. The area is located on the Ethiopia-Sudan border.

The Chairperson of the AUC, Moussa Faki Mahamat, advised seeking a peaceful resolution of tensions under the AU Border Program. At the same time, the Chairperson emphasized the need for dialogue and diplomatic solutions.

Only peaceful solutions can ensure that Al-Fahaqa is not a flashpoint for conflict in the future.

The AUC Chairperson underscored the importance of regional and collective security of the AU. Also, the Chairperson presented AU’s platform to inspire the organization’s two founding members to prioritize diplomatic solutions.

Moreover, the Executive Secretary of the IGAD, Workneh Gebeyehu, also stressed the need for sustainable solutions to the border dispute and urged restraint.

The Ethiopia-Sudan border dispute

Al-Fashaqa is a fertile strip that has been settled by Ethiopian farmers but lies within Sudan’s international borders. Therefore, the area has been a flashpoint of tensions between the two countries recently.

Additionally, a diplomatic spat has lingered since 2011 between the two countries. The reason refers to Ethiopia’s construction of the multi-billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on the river Nile. The Dam is set to be the largest hydroelectric project in Africa.

The construction of GERD existentially threatens the lower-riparian Sudan and Egypt. Thus, Sudan and Egypt have opposed the project and called for an agreement to delimitate the threshold of reservoirs.

Following the recent border escalations, Sudan has also called back its ambassador to Ethiopia. Simultaneously, Sudan affirmed to lodge a formal complaint to United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and other regional organizations.

To conclude, relations between the two countries have soured over al-Fashaqa mainly due to rising water scarcity and acute shortage of land resources.