Egypt Independent

Sudan PM invites Egypt, Ethiopia leaders to direct negotiations over GERD crisis

Sudanese Foreign Minister Mariam al-Sadiq announced Friday that Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok has invited the leaders of Egypt and Ethiopia to direct negotiations to help resolve the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) dispute.

During an interview with Sky News Arabia on Friday evening, Sadiq said that so far, no responses have been received from the Egyptian and Ethiopian sides regarding this invitation.

Sadiq said that Sudan has worked diligently to provide amicable facilities for the GERD issue.

She added that Sudan sent a letter to the secretary general of the UN Security Council several days ago, informing him of the situation and the outcome of the recent Kinshasa negotiations.

The Ethiopian position in the recent Kinshasa negotiations was clearly intransigent, Sadiq said, and involved clear attempts to provoke Egypt and Sudan.

She added that Ethiopia is disregarding its strategic relationship with Sudan and neighboring countries such as Egypt, in return for obtaining political gains for the upcoming elections in June.

Ethiopia is trying to divert attention from its internal problems and unite its people under the GERD project, she explained.

Egypt has announced earlier this month that the latest round of GERD negotiations held in Kinshasa, the capital of Democratic Republic of Congo on April 4-5 did not achieve any progress nor did it lead to an agreement on re-launching the negotiations.

The Egyptian Foreign Ministry said that Ethiopia rejected the proposal submitted by Sudan and supported by Egypt to form an international quartet led by Congo, which heads the African Union, to mediate between the three countries.

Ethiopia also rejected all other proposals and alternatives put forward by Egypt and Sudan in order to develop the negotiation process to enable the countries and parties participating in the negotiations as observers to actively engage in the discussions, participate in the conduct of the negotiations, and propose solutions to the controversial technical and legal issues.

The latest sessions for negotiations in January have also been fruitless.

Egypt on January 10 said that the recent sessions of GERD negotiations have failed once again due to differences on how to resume talks and of the procedural aspects related to managing the negotiation process.

Egypt and Sudan say they want a legally binding agreement on filling and operating the GERD, while Ethiopia is trying to evade a binding agreement.

The three parties have held several rounds of negotiations over the past decade, but have ultimately failed to reach an agreement.

The construction of the dam, which began in 2011, is considered to be one of Egypt’s most serious water issues.

Egypt, which relies considerably on freshwater from the Nile, has voiced fears that the GERD would negatively impact the country’s water supply, and has insisted that measures be put in place to protect downstream countries in case of drought during the dam’s filling process.

Ethiopia, on the other hand, has stressed the importance of the project to bolster its economy, where more than half of the population currently lives without access to electricity.