Kiir worries over Sudan-Ethiopia border dispute
President Salva Kiir has expressed worries over the increasing border tensions between Sudan and Ethiopia.
He said what seems like a friendly fire could escalate beyond the territorial confines should the regional leaders fail to take further action to calm down the situation.
Kiir made the statement in his speech during the closing of the 5th Governor’s Forum in Juba on Monday.
The forum was attended by the governors of the 10 states, three chief administrators, state ministers, national ministers, vice presidents, and members of the diplomatic community and United Nations representatives in the country.
President Kiir warned that the ongoing dispute between Sudan and Ethiopia at the border of Al Fashaga is threatening to escalate, and it was necessary to initiate dialogue between the two countries to resolve the matter.
“As you may have read in the news, the security situation in our region is worsening and, specifically, our sisterly countries of Sudan and Ethiopia are facing challenges that are threatening to escalate further, ” he warned.
Kiir said two days ago that after the incident that happened between Sudan and Ethiopia, he contacted Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the head of the Sudan military council, to cease aggression with Ethiopia to maintain peace at the borders.
“I did not have a chance to talk to Prime Minister Abiy but I will still talk to him and try to talk to Gen. Al-Burhan so that they stop the calamities that have happened in the area of Fashaga so that people stay in peace.”
Call for mediation
In February this year, Ethiopia welcomed President Salva Kiir’s offer to mediate the border conflicts between the two countries.
The Ethiopian Spokesperson in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Amb. Dina Mufti said Addis Abba was ready to sit at the negotiating table with Sudan, offered by a willing mediator to resolve the border dispute.
‘‘Ethiopia appreciates the initiatives of all concerned countries and bodies that offered to assist in resolving the border issue,” said Mufti.
However, Kiir said his effort to bring together warring parties fighting in Ethiopia failed to yield any result.
“I have tried in many ways to talk to the authorities in Ethiopia and even the TPLF because these are people known to all of us. We have been with them for a very long time.
“So, I have been talking to them on the phone to let them sit down and talk, but, of course, that did not happen because everyone has someone behind them who will push him forward,” he stressed.
“I am repeating this thing today because the African Union has already assigned me to talk to these people to stop fighting and to negotiate instead.”
Kiir also expressed concerns over the worsening humanitarian situation in the Tigray region as a result of the fighting in the country. He said the government blocked humanitarian aid from accessing the area.
“Now in the Ethiopian fighting, the people in Tigray land are subjected to humanitarian disasters because the government has refused to allow relief to go to the affected people.
“This is what we don’t want because it is being used against us here in South Sudan and we don’t want to see it anywhere, ” President Kiir said.