News Alert: South African President Cyril Ramaphosa hosting extraordinary meeting to discuss GERD ahead of UNSC open session

South African President and current Chair of the African Union (AU), Cyril Ramaphosa. Image: African Union Press Gallery.

Addis Standard Staffs

Addis Abeba, June 26/2020 – South African President and current Chair of the African Union (AU), Cyril Ramaphosa, is hosting a high level virtual meeting this afternoon between the three leaders of Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan to discuss about the GERD ahead of UNSC open virtual meeting scheduled for Monday June 29.

Billed as ‘Extraordinary Meeting of the Bureau of the Assembly of the AU,’ the virtual meeting will be attended by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, and Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, of Ethiopia, Egypt, and Sudan, respectively. In addition, it will also be attended by heads of state and governments of Kenya, DRC and Mali, Addis Standard has learnt.

The invitation for today’s virtual meeting by President Ramaphosa came the same day as the 15 member states of the UNSC agreed, yesterday – without having to vote – to hold an open virtual meeting on GERD on Monday June 29 at 3:00 PM EST.

As elected member of the UNSC, South Africa has stood firm against the push by the US and Egypt to have the open virtual meeting on GERD at the Security Council. On Monday, it expressed its views against the motion to hold the session and argued that GERD negotiations between Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan were still ongoing and that this issue did not belong in the Security Council.

A diplomatic source close to the matter told Addis Standard that today’s meeting can be a significant step towards asserting AU’s increased role in resolving the GERD standoff.

“Today’s meeting and its possible outcomes will set the tone for the UNSC meeting on Monday. A lot of reluctant member states of the SC – including Europeans, China, Russia and Indonesia, are expected to reference or take note of the outcome of this extraordinary summit,” our source said, adding that “A clear-eyed communique from this high-level summit could also help the three African elected members of the UNSC: South Africa, Niger and Tunisia, to unify behind and consolidate AU’s position for increased role to resolve the matter.” AS

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