Sudan PM visits Ethiopia as Tigrayan refugees surpass 50,000


Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok has arrived in Ethiopia, his office says, amid a growing refugee crisis that has seen more than 50,000 Ethiopians flee conflict in the Tigray region into neighbouring Sudan.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed greeted his Sudanese counterpart at Addis Ababa’s airport, where Hamdok arrived with the acting Sudanese Foreign Minister Omar Qamar al-Din and top intelligence and military officials on Sunday.

“I look forward to having productive discussions on political, humanitarian and security matters of common concern,” Hamdok tweeted.

The visit came two weeks after the Ethiopian leader declared victory in the fight against the regional government in Tigray.

However, clashes between federal forces and the regional fighters continue more than a month after the fighting began on November 4.

The conflict threatens to destabilise Ethiopia and other countries in the Horn of Africa region.

It has also alarmed the international humanitarian community since the eruption in violence has largely cut the Tigray region of 6 million people off from the world.

On Saturday, the first international aid convoy carrying medicines and relief supplies arrived in the Tigrayan capital of Mekelle, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said, but more is still needed.

Aid trucks managed to enter the region amid international calls for more transparency into the month-long fighting.

The UN refugee agency said more than 50,000 Ethiopians have fled into remote areas of Sudan, first straining the generosity of local communities and then challenging the capacity of humanitarian groups that have hurried to set up a system to feed, shelter and care for the refugees.

The influx of refugees adds to Sudan’s economic and security burdens. Its transitional government has already been struggling under the weight of decades of sanctions imposed by the United States and mismanagement under former ruler Omar al-Bashir, who was removed from power last year.


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