Sudan’s cabinet supports the UAE mediating conflicts with Ethiopia


Sudan’s transitional cabinet has backed a United Arab Emirates initiative to mediate a border dispute with Ethiopia and a controversial large dam built by Addis Abeba on the Blue Nile River.

Tensions in the border area of al-Fashaqa have risen in recent months. In contrast, negotiations on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) operation, which will affect water volume downstream on the Nile in Sudan and Egypt, have stalled.

Sudan’s Information Minister, Hamza Baloul, said on Tuesday that the cabinet had approved the plan for Emirati mediation after it was investigated at the ministry level.

It came as Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed insisted on Tuesday that his country does not want to go to war with Sudan, calling for the al-Fashaqa crisis to be settled peacefully.

Ethiopian farmers have long worked in the fertile border zone, but Sudan also claims the farming region.

Sudan has sent forces into al-Fashaqa in recent months, which Ethiopia has condemned as an “invasion.” Following that, a series of deadly clashes erupted, with both sides exchanging allegations of aggression and territorial violations.

Abiy, who is already dealing with internal Ethiopian disputes, including in the Tigray region, stated that his country is “not ready to go to battle.”

“Sudan, in its current state, is not in a position to fight a neighboring country; it has numerous problems. Ethiopia, too, has a slew of issues. We do not need war. It is preferable to resolve it peacefully,” said Abiy.

Dam dispute

The UAE has also offered to mediate in the case of the GERD, a hydroelectric megaproject that Egypt and Sudan claim threatens their vital water supplies.

Ethiopia says the project is critical to its electrification and growth. Still, Egypt, which depends on the Nile for the vast majority of its freshwater needs, sees the dam as an existential threat, and Sudan fears damage to its own dams if an agreement is not reached.

Last month, Khartoum proposed a quartet of mediation by the African Union, the European Union, the United Nations, and the United States, which Cairo accepted, but Addis Abeba opposed.

Sudan said on Thursday that all four potential mediators had expressed a willingness to play such a role in resolving the decades-old dispute over the mega-dam.



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