A delegation headed by Tut Guluak, Advisor for Security Affairs to the President of South Sudan, arrived in Khartoum on Tuesday to discuss border issues and enhance security, stability, and peace in the region, in addition to discussing the implementation of the Juba Peace Agreement (JPA).
In a press statement via the official Sudan News Agency (SUNA), Guluak said that he carries a written message from the President of South Sudan, Gen Salva Kiir Mayardit, to the Chairman of the Transitional Sovereignty Council and the current head of IGAD, Gen Abdelfattah El Burhan, regarding issues of security and stability in the region.
He added that President Kiir of South Sudan will hold consultations with El Burhan and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abi Ahmed on border issues to enhance security, stability and peace in the region, given that Ethiopia is a neighbour to both Sudan and South Sudan.
The Sudanese-Ethiopian border tensions witnessed rapid developments last month after the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) reported the killing of a Sudanese citizen and seven army soldiers by Ethiopian armed forces who raided and captured the El Usra area in El Fashaga, El Gedaref, on Wednesday last week. Both parties accuse each other of unacceptable behaviour.
The 1,600 kilometre border between Sudan and Ethiopia was drawn in colonial times. No clear demarcation of the border has been made since the country became independent in 1956. The lack of clear border markers has made it easy for Ethiopian militants to occupy fertile farmlands in eastern El Gedaref.
Ethiopian farmers have been cultivating crops for decades along the border. The lands are protected by Ethiopian gunmen. Farmers in El Fashaga and the El Gedaref governor have demanded that these lands be returned to them.