The two nations of Ethiopia and Sudan have had a long intertwined history. From the days of the Ethiopian Kings of old and British colonialism in Sudan, the two people have had an inseparable link.
When The communist Derg overthrew the Ethiopian government for a 17 year regime of terror, the Sudanese government stood firmly with the opposition. The people opened their homes and sheltered many Ethiopians in a show of solidarity.
At the fall of the Derg, no two governments could have been closer than that of the TPLF led Ethiopia and Al-Bashir's Sudan. The honeymoon phase looked as if it had no end until the 1995 Sudanese led assassination attempt of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak at an OAU Summit in Addis Ababa.
Diplomatic relations between Ethiopia and Sudan were cut right away, the two countries returning back to a state of conflict they hadn't seen since Emperor Yohannes of Ethiopia attempted an invasion of Sudan eons ago.
After the normalization of diplomatic relations, I was appointed Ambassador of Ethiopia to Sudan. The reception I received made me forget that this was supposed to be a hostile nation only a few years ago. I saw that the Sudanese people truly have a natural disposition towards love for their Ethiopian brothers and sisters, and vice versa. It was very clear to me that the positions the governments take may be fickle, but the support the people of the two countries have for eachother is constant.
During my time in Sudan, we built roads bridging the nation's, exchanged goods and commodities, and most importantly reestablished the commitment of the two people towards one another.
When the people of Sudan rose up against Omar Al Bashir and stood tall for democracy, it was Ethiopia's PM Dr. Abiy that organized talks to develop a transitional government.
In the recent conflict in the Tigray region, the Sudanese people showed their time honored tradition of hospitality to Ethiopians fleeing conflict once again.
I write this short account of a long illustrious history because today, once again, the relationship between these two countries is being tested. But if there is one thing we have learned, it is that regardless of the geopolitical barriers, the people are one. Governments come and go, but the bonds that bind the people of Ethiopia and Sudan are forever.
As a former Ambassador to Sudan, as an Ethiopian, and as a brother to my Sudanese friends and family, I ask the government of Sudan to represent the true nature of their people and stand in the interest of solidifying our special bond.
Whatever grievances we might face, there is nothing that is beyond negotiation.
The people naturally want peace. It was Dr. Abiy who appealed to this exact sentiment when Sudan was facing their internal conflict.
Now it is Ethiopia going through it's own internal conflict. It is time Sudan reciprocates that same sentiment. In this hour of great need, I implore the Sudanese government to go back to the negotiation table.
In the end, there is nothing that can divide us.