Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Says His Nation Won’t Meddle in Sudan’s Political Crisis

Photo credits: Reuters

The Prime Minister of Ethiopia has stated publicly that his country will not adversely interfere in Sudan’s complicated government transition process.

Africa News reported on Tuesday (May 28) that Abiy Ahemd (the Ethiopian Prime Minister) released a statement through emissaries in his office, which recognized the sovereignty of neighboring Sudan. Ahemd (pictured right) has stated that Ethiopia’s strategic position during the Sudanese government’s transitional period will be rooted in exchanging solutions with its African neighbor to the northwest.

For the past week, General Abdul Fattah Burhan (pictured left), the leader of Sudan’s ruling Transitional Military Council (TMC), has been visiting foreign nations in Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. In addition to Ethiopia, General Burhan has visited Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. The TMC leader traveled to these three countries with the hopes of formulating diplomatic ties.

This is crucial as Sudan presses forward in the wake of its current political obstacles. Prime Minister Ahemd’s official statement said Ethiopia only intends to “share ideas” with Sudan as it continues to establish order in the wake of president Omar Al-Bashir’s overthrow.

“On the request for advise, [Ahemd] shared the importance of being inclusive in the transition process,’‘ reads a recent report from the Ethiopian Prime Minister’s office.

Sudanese opposition groups have been very skeptical of General Burhan’s appeals for foreign assistance. When it comes to Egypt, Sudanese protesters who support the opposition have already stated that they are suspicious of the Egyptian president. Egypt’s elected president is a former military general named Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. In 2013, el-Sisi helped organize a coup, which ousted Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s former president.

After Egypt’s revolution during the 2011 “Arab Spring” campaign backed by Western nations, Morsi was elected president in June 2012. He replaced president Hosni Mubarak, another former military strongman. Mubarak ruled Egypt for 30 years prior to being overthrown during the West’s aggressive, non-military campaign of regime change in North Africa and the Middle East.

Morsi, a former affiliate of the Islamic Brotherhood, appointed el-Sisi as his defense minister when he assumed office. However, Morsi’s ties to the Brotherhood made Western nations reject his legitimacy. As a result of that, el-Sisi was clandestinely chosen by the West as a legitimate successor who would help Egypt re-establish a hard line stance on groups like the Islamic Brotherhood.

However, the Human Rights Watch organization reported in June 2015 that el-Sisi’s regime has practiced severe forms of torture against political dissidents. The Sudanese people are more than entitled to their suspicions of foreign meddling. The political future of their country should rest in their hands. It should not rest in the hands of any foreign nation, including their own neighboring African countries.

When it comes to Ethiopia, Sudan has not shared a stable, diplomatic relationship with its African neighbor to the southeast since 1995. In June of that year, Egypt’s former president Mubarak was visiting the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa. During his visit, Mubarak survived an assassination attempt as he attended an Organization of African Unity summit.

At that time, a subsequent, full-scale investigation of Mubarak’s assassination attempt was conducted by the Ethiopian government. In Washington D.C, officials claimed that two Sudanese gunmen were arrested after the attack. However, officials in Egypt or Ethiopia did not initially verify this claim of a “Sudanese connection” by the U.S. government.

Strained diplomatic relations between the Ethiopian and Sudanese governments carried on for years after this incident.

However, in a largely cosmetic reconciliation effort, Sudan’s former president Al-Bashir signified his nation’s desire to normalize relations with Ethiopia. This dog and pony show went down during Al-Bashir’s 1999 visit to Addis Ababa. Ethiopia is also home to hundreds of thousands of Sudanese refugees who fled their native land during Sudan’s Second Civil War (1983-2005).

This 22-year military conflict was one of the bloodiest and longest-running civil wars ever recorded in the history of the world.