Egypt’s President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi (R), Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn (C) and Sudanese counterpart, Omar Hassan al-Bashir (L) during a tripartite summit at the AU's 30th summit on January 29, 2018 – Press photo
CAIRO – 29 January 2018: A tripartite summit between Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia on a presidential level convened on Monday, on the sidelines of the African Union (AU)’s 30th summit in Addis Ababa.
President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn discussed the controversial issue of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) at Sisi's presidential residence in Addis Ababa.
The tripartite summit discussed means of enhancing cooperation between the three countries, continuing intensive consultation, and coordination on various subjects of common interest. The three parties also agreed to activate the joint investment fund between the three countries to finance infrastructure projects, according to a statement from presidential spokesperson Bassam Rady.
The tripartite summit also reviewed the latest developments to the current negotiations of the National Tripartite Commission on GERD with transparency and discussed means of overcoming the hurdles in its way.
The three countries affirmed an agreement on a single vision based on the Declaration of Principles signed in Khartoum and raising the no-harm principle of the three countries’ interests.
They agreed to hold joint meeting between the ministers of irrigation and foreign affairs of the three countries and the National Tripartite Commission, then raise a final reports in a month that includes a solution to all pending technical issues. They also agreed to exchange technical information and studies between the three countries.
President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi asserted that the negotiations between the three countries should preserve common interests. He called for all officials involved in the negotiations between the three countries to implement the directives of the leaders and the completion of their work, according to the specific framework.
The Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir expressed his country’s intention to work within the framework of the tripartite national committee in order to reach consensus on all outstanding technical issues.
President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn discussed the controversial issue of GERD at Sisi's presidential residence in Addis Ababa.
After the tripartite meeting, Sisi reiterated that none of the Egyptians, Ethiopians or Sudanese people will be harmed by GERD.
“Be absolutely reassured,” Sisi repeated, addressing media personnel after the summit. He added that the leaders met and agreed that none of the three countries' interests will be negatively affected.
“Ethiopia's and Sudan's interest is Egypt's as well...we are speaking as one country, not three states,” Sisi stated.
When asked by one of the reporters if the dam's crisis is over, Sisi answered, “there is no crisis.”
The summit, attended by Sisi, Sudanese President Bashir and Ethiopian Prime Minister Desalegn, was held on the sidelines of the 30th summit of the African Union (AU) in Addis Ababa.
The talks are viewed as another bid by the three African leaders to resolve the stalled negotiations regarding the GERD. The two-day AU summit will end on Monday.
The summit follows years of negotiations, since May 2011, between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan over GERD. Egypt has voiced its concerns regarding the dam’s capacity of water storage, fearing that it may negatively affect its share of Nile water.
However, Ethiopia has repeatedly denied any negative effect from the GERD on Egypt’s share of the Nile water, as stipulated in the statements made by Ethiopian Prime Minister Desalegn during his official visit to Cairo last week.
Egypt previously approved the report prepared by PRL Consulting Company on the guidelines to be followed during GERD’s construction period. However, Ethiopia and Sudan rejected the report’s findings, crippling the continuation of necessary studies to establish the dam.