Sudan and Egypt join efforts to compel Ethiopia to sign GERD binding deal

Egypt’s Foreign minister Sameh Shoukry and Water Resources and Irrigation Minister Mohamed Abdel-Aty arrive in Khartoum, Sudan on June 9. They were received by their Sudanese counterparts / Eshete Bekele

Sudan and Egypt Foreign and Water ministers have agreed to coordinate international efforts to bring Ethiopia to sign a legally binding agreement on the filling and operation of the renaissance dam.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and Irrigation Minister Mohamed Abdel Aty were in Khartoum on Wednesday to discuss with their Sudanese counterparts’ joint steps after Addis Ababa refusal to ink a deal with them and its plans to launch the second phase of the GERD’s reservoir filling next July.

In a joint statement after the meeting, the four ministers said they discussed the developments of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam issue, after the failure of the African Union efforts to persuade Addis Ababa to sign an agreement with the downstream countries.

The two sides agreed on the serious risks and severe effects of the unilateral filling, the statement said.

“They further agreed to coordinate bilateral efforts at the regional, continental and international levels to press Ethiopia to negotiate in good faith and true political will to reach a comprehensive, fair and legally binding agreement on filling and operation of the Renaissance Dam”.

US backs Egypt in GERD dispute during Blinken’s visit to Cairo

DR Congo’s President Felix Tshisekedi, who is also the AU chair, told Aljazeera TV on May 20 that he would hold a meeting between the leaders of the three countries in June to reach an agreement over the GERD.

Tshisekedi added that he made significant progress with the leaders of the three countries during his visits to Khartoum, Cairo and Addis Abba last May.

As Ethiopia will hold national and regional elections on 21 June, such a meeting could intervene after the vote.

In a related development, Ethiopian scholars said on Wednesday that Egypt and Sudan have to contribute financially to support the natural resources conservation works carried out in the Blue Nile Basin.

According to the official Ethiopian News Agency, one of the contributions that the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam makes to Sudan is minimizing the recurrent flooding and sedimentation on its hydropower dams.

Egypt seeks Kenya’s intervention in GERD dispute with Ethiopia

“Protecting the source of the river should not be left only to Ethiopia. Since Sudan and Egypt are the major beneficiaries of Abay River, they have the responsibility to protect the water from drying up,” said Gete Zeleke Water and Land Center Director at the Addis Ababa University.

During the talks, the Ethiopian government proposed to include a water-sharing deal in the talks but Sudan and Egypt refused the demand saying the matter was not part of the 2015 declaration of principles.

Uhuru cautions Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan against actions, statements that might derail GERD negotiations

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