Sunday, June 28, 2020

Ethiopia, Egypt, Sudan Agreed to Have an African Union-led Negotiation
As news emerge that the filing of GERD is delayed which Ethiopia is yet to confirm, African Union is to lead the negotiation between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia

June 26, 2020

South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa, and African Union leaders managed to bring the leaders of Ethiopia, Egypt, and Sudan together for a meeting a week after the tripartite talk on the filling and operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) failed.

One significant outcome of the meeting is that the three countries have agreed to pursue an “African Solution,” to resolve the deadlock over GERD.

Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, has confirmed that the three countries have agreed to resolve their differences over GERD in African Union-led negotiation.

Mr. Mahamet tweeted  “I participated in a productive Bureau of AU Heads of State mtng convened by @AUChair2020 to discuss the #GERD dam. Wise Pan-African leadership shown by Pres @AlsisiOfficial, PM @AbiyAhmedAli & @SudanPMHamdok as they agreed to an AU-led process to resolve outstanding issues.”

Ethiopian Prime Minister expressed pleasure over “fruitful discussions on African Solutions to the #GERD…”  In a statement he wrote in three languages, he said, “I appreciate Chair of the AU, President Cyril Ramaphosa for his leadership in facilitating these high-level talks of continental significance. Gratitude also to AUC Chairperson Moussa Faki. Our continental organisation, with a Pan-African spirit, is the right space to dialogue on issues that are of value to #Africa. “

For him, as is the case with his fellow countrymen, “GERD offers all stakeholders the opportunity for unprecedented economic growth and mutual development.”

Before the latest tripartite meeting which was possible mainly because of Sudan, US-brokered negotiation in Washington failed as the United States (although it claimed that it is participating as an “observer”) sought to support Egypt at the expense of Ethiopia.

Following the tripartite talk, Egypt escalated rhetoric along the line of militarism while writing a complaint letter to the UNSC at the same time.

Egypt manifested a strong interest to negotiate the entire Nile Dam. But Ethiopia said it is only the GERD project that is under negotiation. For a talk over the Nile, said Ethiopia, all the riparian countries (they are eleven) need to take part.

Also, Ethiopia rejected Egypt’s “historical right” claim over the Nile water which is based on a colonial-era arrangement in which Ethiopia was not involved in any way. With the current water allocation, Egypt consumes well over 77 percent of the water and Sudan uses the remaining. Ethiopia’s current use of the water is zero when 86 percent of the Nile Water originates from Ethiopia.

Ethiopians believe that Egypt has been destabilizing Ethiopia for too long by exploiting internal dissensions.  The situation with GERD is a little different. It has united Ethiopians. There has been an online campaign for months now calling for the Ethiopian government to go ahead and fill the dam.

Clearing the forest has started on Friday as filing the first phase of the dam is only two weeks away – if Ethiopia is to adhere to its schedule which Sudan and Egypt opposed demanding to reach an agreement first. They took the matter to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to stop Ethiopia from what they call a “unilateral filling of the dam.”

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