Egypt, Sudan Talk Grand Rennaissance Dam Crisis Options

Egypt and Sudan are in discussions on the alternative options for the dispute with Ethiopia over the Grand Renaissance Dam (GERD) after Addis Ababa rejected a proposal for international mediation.

An Egyptian source noted that the upcoming visit of Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok to Egypt aims to address joint options in response to Ethiopian intransigence.

Hamdok is expected to start a visit to Cairo on Thursday, at the head of a high-level delegation that includes a number of ministers.

The two sides recently exchanged visits, resulting in joint coordination and understanding on common issues, particularly the GERD crisis.

Egyptian President AbdelFattah El-Sisi visited Sudan last week Saturday and met with the chairman of the Sovereign Council Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, asserting the need for establishing a legally binding agreement over the dam’s operation.

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Egypt also expressed its support for Sudan’s proposal to form an international mediation, including the United States, the United Nations, the European Union, and the African Union.

The Ethiopian Foreign Ministry rejected the proposal citing its adherence to African mediation.

Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Dina Mufti said his country “strongly believes that African problems can be solved through African solutions, and the AU and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are perfectly capable of coming up with win-win solutions to all”.

Ethiopia had assured the Congolese delegation that recently visited Addis Ababa within the framework of similar visits to South Africa, Egypt, and Sudan, that “Ethiopia has the natural and legal right to utilize its water resources fairly and equitably without causing significant harm to downstream countries.”

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He asserted that the questions related to the safety of the dam and the exchange of information raised by the Sudanese side had been adequately answered, and they cannot be grounds for complaints.

Addis Ababa has refused to adhere to “the status quo of the colonial era agreements under the name of reaching binding agreements.

The dam, inaugurated by Ethiopia in 2011 on the main tributary of the Nile, raises concerns about its impact on water flow to Egypt and Sudan.

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