President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan stated on Wednesday that Turkey is willing to mediate between Ethiopia and Sudan to resolve a border dispute as well as to find a peaceful resolution for the Tigray conflict in Ethiopia that has displaced tens of thousands and left millions hungry.
Erdoğan spoke during a joint news conference with visiting Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. The visit comes amid a broadening of the conflict in Tigray, which began in November after a political fallout between Abiy and the leaders of the Tigray region who had dominated Ethiopia’s government for nearly three decades.
Thousands have been killed in the nine-month war in Tigray that has been marked by widespread allegations by ethnic Tigrayans of gang rapes, manmade local famines and mass expulsions of Tigrayans by Ethiopian and allied forces.
“The peace, tranquility and integrity of Ethiopia, which has a strategic location and importance in Africa, is important to us,” Erdoğan said. “All the countries in the region will be affected by the worsening of the situation (over Tigray).”
Erdoğan, who hosted General Abdel Fattah Abdelrahman al-Burhan, chairman of the Sovereignty Council of Sudan, in Ankara last week, said Turkey was also prepared to contribute toward a peaceful resolution of a dispute between Ethiopia and Sudan over the Al-Fashaga region.
“We are ready to make any contribution to an amicable resolution of the problem, including mediation,” he said.
Ankara and Addis Ababa have friendly relations and the two leaders vowed to boost economic cooperation and trade.
Abiy said the two countries' relationship was built on "mutual respect and trust."
On Wednesday, Erdoğan and Abiy oversaw the signing of military agreements, including a military financial cooperation deal. Details of the deals were not immediately available.
Northern Ethiopia has been wracked by fighting since last November when Ahmed sent troops to topple the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), the region's then ruling party.