Press Statement - Unprovoked Sudanese Encroachment and Violation of Ethiopia’s Borders

Press Statement

January 5, 2021

EWAC is saddened by Sudan’s unexpected military attack and annexation of Ethiopian territory. We are concerned because this unprovoked attack undermines the long-established brotherly relations between these two African countries.

EWAC is also deeply concerned that this encroachment impacts GERD negotiations on which Sudan and Ethiopia have compelling mutual national interests.

The Ethiopian Waters Advisory Council (EWAC) is a non-partisan, nonprofit and independent 501 (c) (3) research and policy think-tank. Its primary objective is to promote and defend sustainable and equitable utilization of Ethiopia’s transboundary rivers, including the Blue Nile, where the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (the GERD) is located.

On December 15, 2020, more than one month after the Government of Ethiopia initiated a peace keeping military operation in the Tigray Region, Sudanese military forces launched an unprovoked attack against Ethiopia, penetrating 20 to 40 kilometers into Ethiopian sovereign territory. These forces, including a mechanized unit, trespassed the border line across the Guang river; annexed large tracts of Ethiopian territory stretching from Humera to the sprawling fertile farmlands

EWAC is concerned that the sudden and unprovoked invasion of Ethiopia by the Sudanese Military Forces impacts the long-term Ethiopian-Sudan relationship, the ongoing negotiation on GERD and long term equitable and reasonable water use of the Blue Nile among the three countries of Egypt, Sudan, and Sudan. Furthermore, it puts pressure on the promising and ongoing regional and continental wide economic and trade integration.

Throughout history Ethiopia has promoted friendly and compassionate relations with the Sudan. To strengthen better neighborliness, promote people to people relationship, enhance peace and stability, bolster regional economic integration, EWAC demands that Sudanese military forces withdraw from Ethiopia immediately and unconditionally.

EWAC urges the Sudanese Government to respond positively to the Ethiopian Government’s repeated calls for dialogue and peaceful negotiation, and for a formal demarcation of this contentious border issue.

EWAC believes that Ethiopia and Sudan enjoy hundreds of years of brotherly relations, trade, human mobility, and other economic interactions. They share a huge border of more than 1,600 kilometers. They would benefit hugely from peaceful settlement of the border issue that has been festering since the colonial era.

EWAC is deeply concerned that Sudan’s unexpected and unlawful aggression against Ethiopia and the annexation of Ethiopia’s territories undermines peace and stability in the entire region. It is therefore in the interest of both countries, the Horn of Africa, and the African Union for Sudanese forces to withdraw from Ethiopia immediately and unconditionally.

We believe that a strong Ethiopia and a strong Sudan are precursors for regional peace and stability. Tragically, proxy non-state actors and governments are trying to embolden the ultra-nationalist and fundamentalist forces within the Sudanese Military and are attempting to fracture Sudan and disturb Ethiopia. This proxy effort does not help the people of Sudan but throws them back to where they were before 2 years ago.

EWAC does not believe this war of aggression on Ethiopia and violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ethiopia is in the interest of the people of Sudan. Accordingly,

  1. We demand that Sudan withdraw immediately its forces from Ethiopian territory.
  2. We support the Ethiopian Government’s national position towards a negotiated settlement of the borders between Ethiopia and Sudan; but at the same time urge it to intensify its diplomatic effort and call upon IGAD, the AU, and UN Security Council to put pressure on Sudan to withdraw its forces.
  3. We further support the Ethiopian Government’s effort to complete GERD construction as per schedule and propose extensive work be carried-out toward a comprehensive Nile agreement anchored in the equitable and sustainable use of the Nile waters and based on a robust and good-faith negotiations.
  4. We urge the African Union that is playing a pivotal role in GERD negotiations to also demand that the Sudanese army withdraw from Ethiopian territory.
  5. We commend the Ethiopian Borders’ Affairs Committee (EBAC) for the numerous studies it has conducted on the border issue; for its steadfast and principled position defending Ethiopian sovereign rights over its lands for more than 15 years; and for demanding unconditional withdrawal of Sudanese forces from Ethiopia.

Finally, EWAC urges other Ethiopian civil society and other organizations to express their solidarity with Ethiopia; and with the Ethiopian people for a peaceful and amicable resolution of this untimely unprovoked war of aggression by the Sudanese Military Forces.


Ethiopian Waters Advisory Council
8843 Greenbelt Rd. #343
Greenbelt, MD 20770-2451


H.E. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia

H.E. Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, Sudan Prime Minister

H.E. President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa, Chair, the African Union

H.E. Mr. Antonio Guterres, United Nations Secretary General

H.E. Mr. Vassily Nebezia, President, United Nations Security Council

H.E. David-Maria Sassoli, European Parliament President

H.E. Ursula von der Leyen, European Commission President

H.E Mike Pompeo, US Secretary of State

H.E. Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House

H.E. Senator Mitch McConnell, Majority Leader of the U.S. Senate

H.E. Congresswoman Karen Bass, Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus & Chair of Africa Subcommittee, US Congress Foreign Affairs Committee

H.E. Congressman Eliot L. Engle, Chair, US Congress Foreign Affairs Committee

H.E. Senator James E. Risch, Chair, US Senate Foreign Relations Committee

H.E. Mr. Demeke Mekonen, Ethiopian Minister of Foreign Affairs

H.E. Dr. Seleshi Bekele, Ethiopian Minister of Water, Irrigation and Energy

H.E Ambassador Fitsum Arega, Ethiopian Ambassador in the US

H.E Ambassador Noureldin Satti, Sudan Ambassador in the US