The governments of Ethiopia and Sudan have signed an agreement with the UN refugee agency for the repatriation of tens of thousands of Ethiopians currently living in Sudan, the UN body has said.
The agreement was signed Saturday, an official from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said late Wednesday, and applies only to those refugees who want to go home.
Over 30,000 Ethiopians are still in Sudan after fleeing the regime of former dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam, whose 16-year Marxist military rule is believed to have killed tens of thousands of opponents. Mengistu was ousted in 1991.
The refugee repatriation operation will take place between December 1 and 31, and will be partly financed by the UNHCR.
After then, any Ethiopian refugees still living in Sudan will lose their refugee status, and Khartoum could decide to consider them as immigrants.
More than one million Ethiopians who had fled to Sudan, Somalia, Kenya, Djibouti and Yemen, have returned home since 1991, 300,000 of them with the help of the UNHCR -- ADDIS ABABA (AFP)
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