September 15, 2021 (KHARTOUM/NEW YORK) – United Nations Security Council on Wednesday called on the Blue Nile riparian countries to reach a binding agreement on the filling and operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).
The call coincided with the arrival of Congolese Foreign Minister Christophe Lutundula who handed over to his Sudanese counterpart Mariam al-Mahdi a document prepared by African Union experts ahead of the resumption of African Union-led negotiations.
After more than a month of consultations, the Security Council adopted a presidential statement calling for the resumption of the African Union brokered to reach a “binding agreement on the filling and operation of the GERD,” according to the draft resolution.
Drafted by Tunisia, the statement will be released on Thursday. The draft statement was amended four times before its adoption.
It is the first international position since the first discussion of the dispute by the Security Council on 29 June 2020.
On 8 July 2021, the Council discussed again the dispute after a request by the League of Arab States to discuss the GERD issue.
Immediately after its adoption, the Ethiopian foreign ministry issued a statement on Wednesday rejecting the presidential statement saying the dispute is out of its mandate.
” (…) It is regrettable that the Council pronounces itself over an issue of water rights and development that is outside of its mandate,” stated the Ethiopian foreign ministry.
“Ethiopia will not recognize any claim that may be raised on the basis of the presidential statement, ” stressed the statement.
In Khartoum, the visiting Congolese minister told the media after a meeting with his Sudanese counterpart that Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi is determined to continue his efforts to find a solution to the GERD crisis, in line with the principle of “African solutions to African problems”.
He added that his visit is part of a regional tour including Egypt and Ethiopia to assess their position on the stalled process in continuation of the discussions held in Kinshasa last April.
The official news agency SUNA reported that the Lutundula handed over to al-Mahdi a document prepared by a joint team of experts from the Congolese presidency and the African Union Commission, summarising the agreed and outstanding points between the three countries over the GERD filling and operation.
Sudan and the two other countries have to study this document and submit their points of view and positions to the experts.
For their part, the experts will seek to narrow the gaps between the three countries and elaborate a compromise that satisfies all parties, added the official agency.
Al-Madhi said Sudan looks forward to resuming the negotiating process under the auspice of the African Union as soon as possible. Further, she stressed the need to avoid the ineffective mechanism used during the past negotiations.
The minister was referring to the Sudanese proposal on the need for mediation led by African Union including the U.S., EU and UN.
She added that the parties are required to have a high level of political will to reach a binding legal agreement on the filling and operation of the GERD.