A general view of Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam, as it undergoes construction, is seen during a media tour along the river Nile in Benishangul Gumuz Region, Guba Woreda, in Ethiopia March 31, 2015. - Picture taken March 31, 2015. REUTER/Tiksa Negeri
CAIRO – 13 March 2018: Sudanese Ambassador to Egypt Abdel Mahmoud Abdel Halim delivered an invitation to Egypt to attend a tripartite meeting on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) at the level of the foreign affairs and irrigation ministers of Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia.
The meeting is expected to be held in Khartoum April 4-5, 2018, according to Abdel Halim’s statements to Egypt Today on Tuesday, March 13. He explained that the meeting comes per the results of the Addis Ababa tripartite summit that was held on the sidelines of the African Summit last January.
Abdel Halim, who returned to Egypt on Monday, March 5, held his first meeting with media delegates on March 9, during which he said that Sudan and Egypt have agreed to work closely towards bilateral relations.
He affirmed that the two states are committed to resolving the challenges they are facing. “We are keen to improve and enhance the relations between our countries, as the coming generations of both states believe in mutual interest and transparency,” Abdel Halim told the media representatives, affirming that the concerns of the two countries are mostly diplomatic and political issues.
A joint committee for border surveillance and banned smuggling was suggested, according to the Sudanese ambassador. Abdel Halim confirmed that a joint charter of honor between the two states will be inked and come into force soon; however, “it won’t make any difference if the media organizations didn’t commit to it,” he said.
“Egypt has several concerns,” Abdel Halim continued, adding that his country will not host or welcome anyone who would target Egypt's stability. The Sudanese ambassador has just returned to Cairo to resume his work, after being summoned by his state’s foreign ministry on January 4 “for consultation”, without mentioning any further details.
Recently, bilateral relations were aggravated due the controversial Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. Sudanese media claimed that Egypt sought to exclude Sudan from the tripartite talks with Ethiopia. On January 8, Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry stressed that Egypt did not ask Ethiopia to exclude Sudan from negotiations.
Egypt has voiced its concern over Ethiopia’s dam construction, as it would affect Egypt’s 55 billion cubic meter share of the Nile water. However, Addis Ababa affirms that the dam is necessary for Ethiopia’s development and would not negatively affect downstream countries Egypt and Sudan.