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Egypt Ways in on the Sudanese Ethiopian Border Tensions

On 14 January 2021, the spokesperson for the Egyptian presidency said that the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi had met with a member of the Sudanese Transitional Sovereignty Council, Lieutenant General Shams Al-Din Kabbashi, to discuss current tensions at the Sudanese Ethiopian border and regional issues of mutual concern.

Kabbashi headed a delegation of senior Sudanese officers and officials including the Sudanese Director of General Intelligence Service, Lieutenant General Gamal Abdel Majid.

The Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sameh Shoukry, and the head of General Intelligence, Major General Abbas Kamel, also attended the meeting.

The spokesman for the Egyptian presidency said that the meeting focussed on bilateral relations between the two countries and ways to increase cooperation in all fields.

The Egyptian President expressed Egypt’s keenness to continue cooperation and coordination with Sudan, stressing that Egypt’s position towards Sudan stems from the historical interdependence that unites the people of the Nile Valley, a position that “has not and will not change under any circumstances.”

The spokesman added that both sides discussed the Horn of Africa, the Nile Basin region, latest developments regarding current tensions on the Sudanese Ethiopian border, and the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. They agreed  to continue coordination and consultations to benefit both countries.

The Sudanese delegation’s visit to Cairo comes as part of a series of visits by Sudanese officials to regional capitals over the past days, which local reports said, were aimed to explain Khartoum’s position on the situation at the border with Ethiopia.

About a month ago, it was reported that Sudanese forces were “ambushed by Ethiopian forces and militias inside Sudanese territory,” resulting in the killing of a Sudanese officer and 3 soldiers. The incident was followed by a mutual mobilisation on the border between the two countries, amid Sudanese demands to recover lands cultivated by Ethiopians.

On 13 January 2021, the head of the Sudanese Transitional Sovereignty Council, Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, inspected the situation at Sudan’s eastern border, where he said, according to the Sudanese Army, “the armed forces are able to protect the land and preserve the security of the country.”

Current tensions on the Sudanese Ethiopian border come at a time when Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt are trying to resolve a tripartite dispute over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. Following the last round of negotiations on the dam, Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan said (on 10 January 2021) that they had reached a “dead end” again in the negotiations. Egypt and Ethiopia separately blamed Sudan for the failure of the talks.