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Restore the Fraternal Relations with Ethiopia

Omer B. Abu Haraz

Throughout history, the relationship between Sudan and Ethiopia was good. If we go down in long history Sudan and Ethiopia were one nation. This explains the great similarity between the citizens of both countries in facial features, colors, and culture. In religion, Muslims are the majority in both populations. Before the cession of South Sudan from Sudan and Eritrea from Ethiopia the land borders between Sudan and Ethiopia were the longest among Sudan boundaries standing at 2725 km. Now after the cession of South Sudan and Eritrea, it is 744 km. Landmarks in Ethiopia recent history are:

  • The 1902 treaty between Emperor Menilik II and Sudan under the British colonization. The most important articles of the treaty was the undertaking of Menilik II not to build any construction on the Blue Nile river that might arrest all or part of the water flowing to Sudan without the consent of the governments of Sudan and Britain. The second important article was the clear demarcation of the borders between Sudan and Ethiopia. All Ethiopian regimes since 1902 observed and respected the agreement. As a clear manifestation of the deeply rooted fraternal relations between Sudan and Ethiopia Emperor Haili Selassie after being overthrown by the Italian invasion in 1935 and ruling till 1941, he took refuge in Sudanese a safe haven in 1941, after a 5-year exile in Britain, and regain of his throne from the Italians in 1941. His cordial relations with Sudan regimes continued till this ousting by the Derg of General Mangestu Hailemariam in 1974. Emperor Haile Sellassie annexed Eritrea to Ethiopia in 1964. Meles Zenawi and Assyasi Afwerki led military insurgencies against Mangestu from Sudan. They stayed in Sudan for years and they both speak fluent Sudanese Arabic. Zenawi and Afwerkioverthrew Mangestuin 1991 after severe wars. Eritrea  became an independent state in 1992. Meles Zenawi decided to realize the planned project of the Renaissance Dam and laid the foundation stone on 2011. He invited Sudn to participate in the cost of the dam. His invitation was a clear abidance by the 1902 treaty and also it was good gesture that Ethiopia has no bad intention to Sudan water lifeline supply. Sadly enough the ousted salvation regime did not pick-up the gesture. After the untimely  death of Zennawi in 2012, (Zenawi tenure was 23/8/1995 – 20/8/2012). Hailemarian Desalegn took office from 20/8/2012 to 2/4/2018. The incumbent P.M. Abiy Ahmed succeeded Desalegn. All of the mentioned regimes in Ethiopia maintained the good relations  with Sudan. The assassination attempt of Egyptian President Husni Mubarak on 1995 led to temporary tension. In the present rule of Abiy Ahmed two minor tensions erupted due to the ambivalent stance of Sudan in the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) and the allegation that Saudan facilitated flow of weapons to the Tigray (EPLF).
  • However, needless to remind Sudanese revolution leaders that Abiy Ahmed played a pivotal role in the negotiations between the civilian and military component after the ousting of the salvation regime on April 11, 2019 which culminated in the signing of the Constitutional Document on 17/8/2019.
  • So the timely visit of General Himidti to Ethiopia few days ago was important and it broke the ice which was built by GERDtalks and the allegations of helping the TPLF.
  • So the issue of the GERD should be handled constructively rather than revolving. A trio-integration projects should be envisaged by smartly integrating the resources of each of the three countries  – Sudan, Ethiopia and Egypt – primarily on agricultural and related industrial projects, for example spinning, waiving, leather and edible oils. Sudan has the land and raw material, Ethiopia , the power and Egypt the technology and experiences.
  • So it is always beneficial to Sudan rulers to maintain good relations with Ethiopia and Egypt.
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