News: Egypt, Sudan Foreign Affairs & Irrigation ministers accuse Ethiopia of being ‘intransigent’, promise more pressure to reach agreement before GERD’s second filling

Meeting of Foreign Affairs Irrigation ministers of Egypt and Sudan in Khartoum on June 9, 2021. Photo: Sudan News Agency (SUNA).

By Bileh Jelan @BilehJelan 

Addis Abeba, June 10, 2021 – Following an official one-day visit to Sudan by Egyptian ministers of Foreign Affairs and Irrigation and a meeting with senior officials in Sudan, the two sides issued a joint statement on the meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Irrigation in Egypt and Sudan on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam yesterday . 

The following is a translation of the statement:

“A joint statement issued by the meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Irrigation in Egypt and Sudan about the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam

A high-level Egyptian delegation comprising of Sameh Shoukry, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Mohamed Abdel-Aty (PhD), Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation of the Arab Republic of Egypt, visited Khartoum today, Wednesday, June 9, 2021, to hold intensive discussions with the Sudanese side, including Maryam Al-Sadiq Al-Mahdi (PhD), Minister of Foreign Affairs and Yasser Abbas (PhD), Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources, with the participation of a team comprised of technical and legal experts from both sides. The discussions took place in a friendly and positive atmosphere characterized by mutual understanding.

The consultations focused on the developments in the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam file, where the two parties agreed that there were serious risks and dire effects of any unilateral filling of the Renaissance Dam, and stressed the importance of coordinating of efforts between the two countries at the regional, continental and international levels to push Ethiopia to negotiate seriously, in good faith and with real political will in order to reach a comprehensive agreement. The agreement to be reached with Ethiopia has to be fair and legally binding on the filling and operation of the Renaissance Dam, this happened after the negotiations sponsored by the African Union reached a dead end due to Ethiopian intransigence.

The two countries also agreed on the need for coordination to ensure security, peace and stability in the region and the continent as a whole, which requires an active intervention by the international community to ward off risks related to Ethiopia’s continued pursuit of its policy of seeking to impose a fait accompli on the downstream countries and its unilateral will that it continues to follow. This will is embodied in its announcement of its intention to fill the Renaissance Dam during the upcoming flood season without taking into account the interests of Sudan and Egypt.

The Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Irrigation in Sudan and Egypt expressed deep concern about the potential effects and damages of filling and operating the Renaissance Dam unilaterally and without a legally binding agreement regulating the work of this maga dam on the rights and water interests of both Sudan and Egypt, and stressed on the importance of a concerted international effort to reach a peaceful settlement on the Renaissance Dam crisis. It takes into account the interests of the three countries and achieves their common interests.

The talks also touched on the bilateral relations between the two brotherly countries, where the two sides affirmed their keenness to strengthen and deepen the relations that bind the peoples of the two countries.” 

This comes a recent escalation and exchange of accusations between the three countries on the failure of the African Union (AU) sponsored talks. It also comes in the backdrop of both countries launching a joint military exercise named ‘Nile Protectors” and Ethiopia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister saying that the second filling of the dam will go as scheduled. AS

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