Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Visits Sudan On First Visit Since 2020 Coup

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Thursday visited Sudan, his first trip to the neighboring country since a 2021 military coup there, reported The France 24.

For several years Sudan has been at odds with Ethiopia over border disputes and its construction of a massive dam on the Blue Nile that also has caused tensions with downstream Egypt.

Abiy last visited Sudan in August 2020 when former Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok was leading the transitional government.

According to a statement released by Sudan’s sovereign council, the Ethiopian prime minister met Sudan’s Sovereign Council head General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, as well as General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, and other Sudanese political leaders.

As per the statement, Ahmed and Sudan’s ruling general al-Burhan discussed the Renaissance Dam and the border issues between the two countries.

 They also discussed clashes that flared in late 2020 between the countries in the al-Fashaqa border region, a fertile border strip long cultivated by Ethiopian farmers but claimed by Sudan. The issue has sparked sporadic deadly clashes and has fed into wider tensions over land and water.

“Burhan emphasised… that Sudan and Ethiopia are aligned and in agreement on all issues regarding the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD),” the Sudanese sovereign council said.

Several rounds of talks between the three governments have failed to finalize an agreement over the filling and operation of the reservoir.

Egypt, which is dependent on the Nile for more than 90 percent of its water requirement including irrigation and drinking water, fears that the dam will decrease its share of Nile’s water.

Sudan hopes the dam will regulate annual flooding and generate electricity, but fears that its own dams will be harmed without agreement on its operation.

The Ethiopian government sees the project as indispensable for its development and insists it will not affect Egypt’s or Sudan’s share of the Nile’s water.

Last year, Khartoum and Cairo slammed Addis Ababa for unilaterally deciding to start power generation at the dam.

Caroline Finnegan

A professionnal journalist for the past ten years, I cover global news and economic affairs for The Chief Observer.

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