Sudan deputy leader on rare visit to Ethiopia
The meeting is happening while relations between Khartoum and Addis Ababa have deteriorated, due to a territorial dispute over the disputed Al-Fashaqa border region.
Officials say Sudan's second most senior leader met with Ethiopia's defense minister on Saturday during a rare visit to Addis Ababa by a Khartoum official, which came amid border tensions.
Sudan's ruling council's number two, Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, also known as Hemeti, will visit the capital for two days to meet "several Ethiopian officials," according to Sudan's state news agency SUNA and Ethiopia's Fana.
According to a statement from Sudan's ruling council, he was received at Addis Ababa airport by Ethiopian Defense Minister Abraham Belay. Senior officials from Ethiopia's government and intelligence services also greeted him, according to the report.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed expressed in a tweet his "appreciation for the deep historical bonds that bind our two people".
I am pleased to welcome today Gen. Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, Vice-President of the Sovereignty Council of the sisterly Republic of Sudan. I would like to express, once again, my appreciation for the deep historical bonds that bind our two people. pic.twitter.com/no435jGPpM— Abiy Ahmed Ali 🇪🇹 (@AbiyAhmedAli) January 22, 2022
Due to a territorial dispute over the disputed Al-Fashaqa border region, claimed also by Sudan, relations between Khartoum and Addis Ababa have deteriorated.
In recent years, there have been intermittent violent skirmishes between the two sides. Al-Fashaqa also shares a border with Ethiopia's unstable Tigray area, where tens of thousands of Ethiopians have fled violence.
Sudan's armed forces said six troops were killed in an attack by Ethiopian military-linked armed groups and militias in November, a claim refuted by Addis Ababa, which accused Tigray rebels.
Sudan, with Egypt, is also embroiled in a severe conflict over Ethiopia's Blue Nile mega-dam. Ethiopia's Renaissance Dam is seen as an existential threat by the two Arab downstream countries, who rely on the river for the majority of their water.
Khartoum and Addis Ababa are both in a state of crisis
Since an October 25 military coup that derailed Sudan's transition to civilian administration, Sudan has been rocked by weeks of enormous protests, with at least 73 anti-coup protestors killed in a brutal crackdown.
Ethiopia is currently working to resolve a conflict that erupted in November 2020 after months of enmity between Abiy's government and the Tigray People's Liberation Front, the previous ruling party of Ethiopia's northernmost Tigray province (TPLF).
The violence has displaced millions of people and pushed hundreds of thousands to the brink of hunger, according to UN assessments.