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Sudan’s Deputy Leader Meets Ethiopian Defense Minister in Rare Visit | News

Sudan’s second most powerful leader, Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, is in Addis Ababa for a two-day visit.

Sudan’s second-most powerful leader met Ethiopia’s defense minister during a rare visit to Addis Ababa by an official from Khartoum amid border tensions, officials say.

Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, widely known as Hemeti, who is deputy chairman of Sudan’s Transitional Sovereignty Council, will be in Ethiopia for two days to meet “several Ethiopian officials”, the state news agency reported. Sudanese SUNA.

He was welcomed Saturday at Addis Ababa airport by Ethiopian Defense Minister Abraham Belay, according to a statement from the Sudanese ruling council.

He was also greeted by senior Ethiopian government and intelligence officials, he added.

Daglo heads the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), a highly feared and powerful paramilitary unit blamed for atrocities in the western Darfur region.

Territorial conflict

Relations between Khartoum and Addis Ababa have deteriorated due to a territorial dispute over the disputed border region of Al-Fashaqa, where Ethiopian farmers cultivate fertile land claimed by Sudan.

There have been sporadic deadly clashes between the two sides in recent years.

Al-Fashaqa also borders Ethiopia’s troubled Tigray region, and tens of thousands of Ethiopian refugees have crossed into Sudan to flee the fighting.

In November, the Sudanese armed forces said six soldiers were killed in an attack by armed groups and militias linked to the Ethiopian army, a report denied by Addis Ababa, which blamed Tigray rebels.

Sudan, along with Egypt, is also locked in a bitter dispute over Ethiopia’s mega-dam on the Blue Nile.

The two downstream countries, which depend on the river for most of their water, view the Renaissance Dam in Ethiopia as an existential threat. Khartoum and Addis Ababa are mired in crises.

Protests in Sudan

Sudan has been rocked by weeks of mass protests since the October 25 military coup that derailed the country’s fragile transition to civilian rule, with dozens of anti-coup protesters killed in a bloody repression.

Ethiopia is still seeking to end a conflict that erupted in November 2020 after months of growing rancor between Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government and the former ruling party in the northernmost Tigray region, the Front de Tigray People’s Liberation (TPLF).

The fighting has displaced millions of people and, according to UN estimates, pushed hundreds of thousands more to the brink of starvation.