Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok on Sunday arrived in Ethiopia, his office said, amid a growing refugee crisis that has seen more than 50,000 Ethiopians flee conflict in the Tigray region into neighboring 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.
“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 Ethiopian federal and regional forces have continued.
The fighting, which started early in November, has threatened to destabilize Ethiopia, which is the linchpin of the strategic Horn of Africa, and its neighbors.
The conflict has alarmed the international humanitarian community since the eruption in violence has largely cut off from the world the Tigray region of 6 million people.
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. The transitional government has already been struggling under the weight of decades of US sanctions and mismanagement under former ruler Omar al-Bashir, who was ousted from power last year.
Eastern Sudan, which borders Ethiopia’s Tigray region, was the scene of bouts of tribal violence in recent months that claimed dozens of lives.