Reviving Mechanisms Only Option to Resolve Dispute: Ethio-Sudan Boundary Comm. Member

162

Addis Ababa, January 28/2021(ENA) Reactivating the boundary mechanisms is the only option to resolve the recent border dispute between Ethiopia and Sudan, a member of Ethio-Sudan Joint Boundary Commission said.

In an exclusive interview with ENA, Ethio-Sudan Joint Boundary Commission member Wuhib Muluneh said the two countries must respect the subsequent boundary treaty, which is the 1972 Exchange of Notes.  

The countries have signed Exchange of Notes constituting an agreement to re-demarcate their border in 1972 to solve the long overdue boundary dispute between them.

Ethiopia and Sudan also agreed to study the problem resulting from settlements and cultivation by nationals of either nation in the territory of the other with a view to finding an amicable solution.

Noting the bindingness of the subsequent treaty, he said the countries set mechanisms that  include Joint Boundary Commission (JBC), Joint Technical Boundary Committee (JTBC), and Joint Special Committee with regard to cultivation and farm land.  

The Joint Special Committee, even if it held eight meetings, did not complete its tasks given to it under the 1972 Exchange of Note and its Terms of Reference adopted by the agreement of the two countries, Wuhib elaborated.

“We have clearly told the Sudanese side that reactivating the mechanisms is the only option. War is not an option. The consequences are many; people will die and properties would be destroyed. Instead, let’s sit down and come up with recommendations with regard to the status quo. Then jointly agree to dispose of all this problem by agreement.”

According to him, the dispute cannot be solved unilaterally as it is about common and joint boundary.

Furthermore, it is an international practice that boundary issues are resolved by negotiation and dialogue between the concerned parties.

Wuhib underlined that Ethiopia “feels that bilateral resolution is the best way out instead of inviting third parties. We suspect that third parties are behind this Sudanese move. It is a kind of proxy war.”

In the light of the long-standing relations between the two countries, they need to resolve their difference peacefully.

“I know the border from North to South, especially in the area North of Mount Dagleish. The people have lived there for thousands of years as good neighbors. Commerce and trade are going on between the two people. The recent border dispute is a political gamble,” he stressed.

The Government of Ethiopia has repeatedly stated its belief that the dispute can be solved amicably through negotiation and dialogue.

Before the commencement of any negotiation, however, the Sudanese army should evacuate from the area that it occupied by displacing Ethiopian farmers as of November 6, 2020 and respect the status quo ante.