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Ethiopian group denounces border demarcation with Sudan

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May 4, 2008 (LONDON) — An Ethiopian civic organisation denounced a "secret deal" between the Ethiopian and Sudanese governments according to which Addis Ababa ceded 1600sq Km land to Sudan.

As result of several years of negotiations Sudan and Ethiopia ended last year border demarcation. The two countries also agreed to implement different development projects in the joint border for the benefit of the two countries.

The Ethiopian National Congress, based in the USA, said alarmed by the "the recent unofficial news" that Ethiopian government had concluded "a secret treaty with the Sudanese authorities that reportedly ceded 1600 sq km land along the common border of the two countries."

The group regretted in a statement received by Sudan Tribune that "dozens of Ethiopian farmers have been evicted from their farms." It also claimed that Sudanese army had clashed with local Ethiopians near the border.

"The Sudanese have conducted Janjawid-style attacks to overrun Ethiopian settlements, with the "tacit support" of the Ethiopian government, burning Ethiopian villages, expropriating their properties and detaining them."

"Many Ethiopians have been dislocated from their homes, farms and livelihoods." The statement added.

The congress said it is in favour of a border demarcation based on mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity. However it said the Ethiopian Emperors had always rejected the British demarcation of the border and urged to consult tax administrators who worked in the area.

"The so called British officer map (Gwen Map) was not a map at all…... It was a straight line he arbitrarily drew, after the delegation of Emperor Menelik failed to make it on time to jointly mark the common border. Sovereign Ethiopia was never a party to it." The statement said.

Further, the Ethiopian National Congress appealed Sudanese to protest against their government’s connivance in the conspiracy against Ethiopia."

It warned that people involved in these "illegal acts will seriously and adversely affect future peaceful co-existence and relationships between the two sister countries."

Last year, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Party, a Social Democratic Party denounced the Ethiopian government for ceding lands from "River Atbara to Fazra area in Quara" to Sudan.

The issue of border demarcation between Ethiopia and Sudan has been for long time a source of tension between the two countries. The Sudanese farmers had for long time blamed Khartoum for not taking serious steps to defend them from the Addis Ababa backed settlement of Ethiopian farmer in the Sudanese territory.

(ST)

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The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

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