Sudan, Ethiopia trade accusations in border conflict

KHARTOUM: Sudan on Saturday accused Ethiopia of an “unforgivable insult” in its sharpest statement since a decades-old border dispute flared late last year.
Clashes erupted between Sudanese and Ethiopian forces over Al Fashqa, an area of fertile land settled by Ethiopian farmers that Sudan says lies on its side of a border demarcated at the start of the 20th century, which Ethiopia rejects.
In a statement on Thursday, Ethiopia’s foreign ministry said it believes “the conflict being trumpeted by the Sudanese government’s military wing could only serve the interests of a third party at the expense of the Sudanese people”.
Sudan’s foreign ministry responded on Saturday by saying “slander towards Sudan and accusation of being an agent for other parties is a grave and unforgivable insult”.
It added: “What the Ethiopian foreign ministry cannot deny is the third party whose troops entered with Ethiopian troops trespassing on Sudanese land.”
Neither country specified the third parties to whom they were referring in their statements, although the veiled references underscored the potential for any conflict to embroil neighbouring countries. Ethiopia may have been referring to Egypt, which has been angered by Ethiopia’s construction of a massive hydropower dam on the Blue Nile. Sudan has also expressed concerns over the dam.
Sudan may have been referring to Eritrea, whose troops entered Ethiopia to support beleaguered federal forces in Tigray after a regional force attacked military bases in November, according to the United States and European Union. — Reuters