“We have both admitted that our two countries have many elements of collaboration to work on peacefully,” said Abiy Ahmed in a tweet on his official account, accompanied by photos showing the two leaders chatting smiling.
“Our common ties transcend any dispute. We are both committed to dialogue and the peaceful resolution of outstanding issues,” he added.
The meeting took place “on the sidelines of the Igad meeting” which brings together on Tuesday – for the first time in 18 months – the leaders of the countries of the region in the Kenyan capital, according to the cabinet of the Ethiopian Prime Minister.
In Khartoum, the Sovereign Council, the transitional authority chaired by General Burhane, simply reported a “meeting behind closed doors” between the two men.
At the end of June, the Sudanese army – led by General Burhane, in power in Sudan since a putsch in October 2021 – accused the Ethiopian army of having executed seven of its soldiers and a civilian captured in Sudanese territory, in the area disputed Al-Fashaga border.
The Ethiopian authorities denied this, accusing on the contrary the Sudanese forces of having entered Ethiopian territory and provoked a clash – fatal on both sides – with a local militia.
The tone was raised, before Mr. Abiy called on his country and Sudan “to keep their nerves”.
The Al-Fashaga area has been the subject of litigation for several decades, but sometimes deadly clashes have multiplied there since the end of 2020, and this new episode of tension had aroused the concern of the African Union and from Igad.
This border crisis adds to the serious dispute over the Gerd, the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance dam that Addis Ababa built on the Blue Nile and which arouses the anger of Sudan, but also of Egypt, riparians of the Nile in downstream who fear for their water supply.
Ethiopia is due to start the third filling of the dam in August, a potential source of new tensions with its neighbor.