Ethiopia again denies killing seven Sudanese soldiers at disputed border area

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Ethiopia Prime minister Abiy Ahmed has denounced the allegation by Sudan that the Ethiopian defense force executed seven Sudanese soldiers.

Speaking through Billine Seyoum, his spokesperson, the prime minister on Thursday said "remains committed to the principles of amicable resolution and of any differences among states, particularly Sudan is very close"

" Again the Ethiopian side does regret the loss of lives due to the skirmish triggered by a Sudanese army unit. The Ethiopian defense force did not involve in the skirmish and no prisoner of war had been executed. So this allegation that the Ethiopian national forces were the ones that instigated the skirmish is categorically rejected by the Ethiopian side." Billine Seyoum, said during a press conference.

Addis Ababa on Tuesday denied its soldiers were in the area at the time of the skirmish

Sudan accused Ethiopia of capturing the soldiers on June 22 in Al-Fashaqa, a fertile strip at the centre of a bitter border dispute between the two neighbours.

Khartoum recalled its ambassador to Addis Ababa on Monday and vowed to lodge a complaint with the UN Security Council and regional organisations.

Addis Ababa said Tuesday that Sudanese forces had crossed into Ethiopian territory and the casualties resulted from a skirmish with a local militia, denying its soldiers were in the area at the time.

The Sudan Tribune newspaper reported that the Sudanese army had launched an attack Tuesday on Ethiopian troops in the Al-Fashaqa area but this was denied by army spokesman Nabil Abdalla.

"We have not attacked anyone and we will not and we are not planning that. But we will not allow any armed force from another country that wants to cross our international border. It's our right legally to deal with it," he told AFP in Khartoum.

Relations between Khartoum and Addis Ababa have soured over Al-Fashaqa, which is close to Ethiopia's restive Tigray region.

Al-Fashaqa has long been cultivated by Ethiopian farmers but claimed by Sudan, and the dispute has sparked sporadic clashes between the Sudanese and Ethiopian sides, some fatal.

The rift over Al-Fashaqa feeds into wider tensions over land and water between the neighbours, particularly stoked by Ethiopia's mega dam on the Blue Nile.

Sudan and Egypt, both downstream countries, have been opposed to the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam and pushed for an agreement on the filling of its reservoir and the dam's operations.

"The people of Sudan are brotherly and sisterly nations or have got brotherly and sisterly relationships with Ethiopians. Our participation in the peace process within Sudan and the historical tides that have sustained this relationships is not something to be forgotten about so I don't believe that the skirmish would spoil that fact." Billine Seyoum, spokeswoman for the Prime minister of Ethiopia said on Thursday.

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