Ethiopia has rejected efforts by neighbouring Sudan to mediate between Tigrayan rebels and Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government.
Addis Ababa's reaction comes after reports that Sudanese Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok is preparing to launch a mediation plan between Ethiopian government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), with the support of the international community.
"The relationship with Sudan at this point is a little bit tricky because level of trust with some leaders has already be eroded particularly with the Sudanese army incursion into Ethiopian territory," Ethiopian PM’s spokesperson Billene Seyoum said.
"Trust is the basis of any negotiation, any mediation as well, so that element needs to be thoroughly addressed before Sudan could be entertained as a credible party in terms of facilitating such kind of negotiations."
Billene added that Sudan must first withdraw its troops from Ethiopian territories before playing any negotiation role.
Tensions at al-Fashaqa along the Sudan-Ethiopia border flared in December last year, one month after the outbreak of conflict in Ethiopia's northern Tigray region.
Disputes over the agricultural land of al-Fashaqa, which falls within Sudan's international boundaries, coupled with unsettled dispute over Ethiopia's controversial Nile dam project has strained relations between the two neighbours.
Sudan has taken control of most of the land, up to 60 kilometres inside Ethiopia, which it accuses Addis Ababa of annexing.
Billene said Sudan cannot be a credible mediator at a time when relations between Khartoum and Addis Ababa are strained.
Earlier, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has a telephone conversation with Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok on the Tigray conflict which has spilled into neighbouring Amhara and Afar regions in Ethiopia.
They also discussed the worsening humanitarian situation and reportedly agreed to find a lasting solution to the conflict in northern Ethiopia.