Ethiopia on Tuesday reiterated its call for Sudan to pull back from disputed territories its troops have been in since late last year.
In late December, Sudanese soldiers reportedly moved up to 40 kilometers (25 miles) into Ethiopian-held territories, including the contested fertile agricultural region of Al-Fashaga, which Ethiopia called an act of blackmail by its western neighbor.
Ethiopia then launched a diplomatic effort to get Sudanese forces out of the territories to promote a return to the normal mechanisms of dialogue to resolve the century-long border dispute.
“Ethiopia is committed to a peaceful resolution of the border differences with Sudan,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Dina Mufti told a weekly news briefing.
Any possibility of mediation would require Sudan to pull its forces to positions prior to late December, when Ethiopia first signaled a breach of its borders, he added.
“We have had mechanisms, technical and political committees,” he said, adding that the two countries need to get back to those resolution mechanisms through dialogue.
Asked how long Ethiopia would maintain a diplomatic stance while Sudan remains in the contested territories, Dina said: “We will cross that river when we come to it.”
Sudanese military leaders have not shown any sign of heeding Ethiopia’s call, though, and reiterate they reclaimed their own territories.
The Horn of Africa nation decries how Sudan, otherwise considered a friendly neighbor, took the move when Ethiopia’s defense forces were busy dealing with the outlawed Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) after it stormed the federal army’s Northern Command last year, killing soldiers and looting military hardware.