DR Congo’s president presented initiative to resolve GERD dispute, Sudan says

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Sat, 08 May 2021 - 06:20 GMT

Sudan’s Foreign Minister Mariam Al-Sadiq speaks on Saturday in the wake of a meeting with Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi – Sudan’s transitional council

Sudan’s Foreign Minister Mariam Al-Sadiq speaks on Saturday in the wake of a meeting with Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi – Sudan’s transitional council

CAIRO – 8 May 2021: Congolese President and current chair of the African Union Felix Tshisekedi presented an initiative to resolve Ethiopia’s dispute with Egypt and Sudan on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, the Sudanese foreign minister said on Saturday.

The Congolese initiative is currently being studied by the relevant authorities, a statement by the Sudanese Transitional Sovereignty Council cited Sudan’s Foreign Minister Mariam Al-Sadiq as saying in a meeting with Tshisekedi in Khartoum.

Chief of Sudan’s Transitional Sovereignty Council Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan attended the meeting.

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This comes amid Ethiopia’s insistence to complete the dam filling in July despite objections by Egypt and Sudan about filling the dam before an agreement on the filling and operation of the dam is reached.

Al-Sadiq said Sudan stands by Ethiopia’s right in developing its capabilities, utilizing the Blue Nile water and developing its resources. She added that this, however, should not harm the rights of Egypt and Sudan.

The minister said the concerned parties cannot “reap mutual benefits” from the dam project unless they reach a legal agreement that is binding for all of them, especially in terms of the filling and operation of the dam.

“Dr. Mariam highlighted Sudan’s belief that the Renaissance Dam project can be beneficial to the three countries and Africa in case it is based on consensus,” the statement said, noting that “this is what Sudan works for in the current period”.

Al-Sadiq voiced Sudan’s rejection of the Ethiopian unilateral steps taken last year concerning GERD and also of the Ethiopian plans to implement the next filling phase scheduled for June.

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Al-Burhan earlier met with US envoy to the Horn of Africa Jeffrey Feltman where they discussed the GERD issue.

Al-Burhan affirmed the need that the three countries reach a negotiated solution and achieve a binding agreement.

Feltman, also visited Egypt earlier this month and met with President Abdel Fattah El Sisi as well as the foreign and irrigation ministers.

The disagreement on the Renaissance Dam (GERD) is an “existential issue” for Egypt, which will not accept putting its water interests or capabilities of its people in jeopardy, Sisi told Feltman.

Rounds of negotiations among Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia on the Ethiopian dam have reached a deadlock several times with Egypt blaming the failure on Ethiopia’s intransigence.

Ethiopia says it will complete the dam filling in July with or without an agreement.

Egypt on April 13 sent a letter to the United Nations Security Council, calling on the international community to engage in advancing the stalled GERD talks and persuade Ethiopia to refrain from unilateral acts.

Also, Sudanese Minister of Irrigation Yasser Abbas warned that his country will sue the Italian executing company, Salini Impregilo (rebranded as Webuild Group) and the Ethiopian government in case the second filling was unilaterally implemented without a deal.

The lawsuits will be based on the need to compensate Sudan for the damages that will be caused by the filling process, according to Abbas.

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