Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry has said there is a consensus, and an Ethiopian pledge, that the Renaissance Dam will not be filled until after reaching an agreement with Egypt - Photo illustrated by Mohamed Zain
CAIRO – 27 June 2020: The African Union (AU) said on Saturday an agreement has been reached between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia to resolve the outstanding problems regarding the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) via dialogue.
An AU statement said Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed demonstrated commitment to resolve issues regarding GERD.
Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia have agreed on forming a committee – under the auspices of the AU – grouping legal and technical experts from the three countries to draft a final binding deal.
During a virtual mini-summit grouping member states of the Bureau of the African Union Heads of State and Government to discuss the GERD file, President Sisi said that Egypt is ready to resume negotiations with Sudan and Ethiopia to reach a fair and balanced agreement on filling and operating GERD.
Egypt's Presidential Spokesperson Bassam Rady said that the Security Council will be notified of these developments that took place today, indicating that the atmosphere of the summit was very positive and constructive.
To ensure successful negotiations, all parties shall pledge not to make any unilateral decisions, as well as halt the dam's filling till reaching an agreement preserving the three countries' interests, Sisi said.
The presidential spokesman affirmed that it was agreed to form a governmental technical committee from the three countries, international parties and AU representatives. It was also agreed that no unilateral action will be taken regarding the filling the Renaissance Dam.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry also said there is a consensus, and an Ethiopian pledge, not to fill the Renaissance Dam until after reaching an agreement with Egypt.
Mr. Shoukry communicated with his South African counterpart to ensure an understanding of what was agreed upon and that the Renaissance Dam negotiations were entrusted to technicians from the three countries, international observers and some African countries.
“One of Egypt's priorities is to fill the dam without damaging the interests and rights of Egypt and Sudan,” the Foreign Minister added.
During the meeting, President Sisi thanked Mr. Ramaphosa for his call to hold such an important summit to address the vital GERD issue that directly affects the lives of millions in Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia.
The president asserted that Egypt aims to reach a fair and balanced agreement that preserves Ethiopia's right to achieve economic development and capability to generate the needed electricity, taking into account international law and the interests and rights of downstream countries.
Earlier, Thursday, President Sisi received a phone call from President Ramaphosa during which the Egyptian President affirmed Egypt’s rejection of unilateral steps [by Ethiopia] that would harm Egypt's rights to the Nile waters.
The South African President expressed his aspiration to intensify coordination between the two countries during the coming period, said Spokesperson Mr. Radi, noting that Mr. Ramaphosa praised the sincere and constructive political will that Egypt has always shown to reach a solution to the dam crisis.