Thu, 14 Jan 2021 - 10:05 GMT
Sudanese flag - Wikimedia Commons
CAIRO – 14 January 2021: A Sudanese delegation arrived in Cairo Thursday to pay a one-day state visit whereas bilateral relations and joint cooperation will be discussed.
The delegation is headed by Member of the Sovereignty Council of Sudan Shams El Din Kebashy, and consists of Minister of Culture and Information Faisal Mohamed Saleh, Chief of General Intelligence Gamal Abdel Meguid, and Secretary-General of the council Mohamed Youssef.
Egypt’s Foreign Ministry said, Sunday that the talks on Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) failed due to disagreements over how to resume negotiations.
It was added that the six-way talks on GERD failed to make any progress, due to a disagreement on how to resume the negotiations and other procedural aspects of the negotiating process.
Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and Irrigation Minister Mohamed Abdel Aati took part Sunday in the talks, chaired by South Africa, the current president of the African Union, with their counterparts from Sudan and Ethiopia via video conference.
In a statement, the ministry said that Egypt reiterated during the meeting its readiness to engage in serious talks to reach a legally binding agreement on the filling and operating of the dam, in a way that serves the interests of the three African countries and protect Egypt’s water rights.
"Sudan has insisted that the experts, appointed by the African Union Commission, be tasked with proposing solutions to the controversial issues," the statement said.
However, Egypt and Ethiopia have expressed reservations on Sudan's proposal, as the experts are not specialists in the technical and engineering matters related to the water resource management and dam operation. it added.
South Africa’s foreign minister said she felt sorry for not achieving any progress from the meetings.
Sudan’s Irrigation Minister Yasser Abbas on Thursday has expressed “deep concern” over Ethiopia’s announcement of plans to implement the second filling of the massive Renaissance Dam, SUNA reported.
Egypt is diplomatically pressing to find solutions to the outstanding issues regarding the dam’s operation and reservoir filling, particularly ahead of the second round of the filling process due in August 2021.
In mid-July 2020, Ethiopian authorities unilaterally carried out the first phase of the filling process with 4.9 billion cubic meters; and it is expected – as reported by the BBC- that the second phase of the filling would reach 13 billion cubic meters.
In previous remarks to Egypt Today, former Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Houssam Moughazi said, “It is hopeful that the three countries reach a final agreement during this time before the second phase.”
The dispute among Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia dates back to May 2011 when Ethiopia started building the dam; Egypt voiced concern over its water share [55.5 billion cubic meters].
Three years later, a series of tripartite talks between the two countries along with Sudan began to reach an agreement, while Ethiopia continued the dam construction.
In 2015, the three countries signed the Declaration of Principles, per which the downstream countries should not be negatively affected by the construction of the dam.
In October 2019, Egypt blamed Addis Ababa for hindering a final agreement concerning a technical problem, calling for activating Article No. 10 of the Declaration of Principles, which stipulates that if the three countries could not find a solution to these disputes, they have to ask for mediation.