September 16, 2021 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan, on Thursday, welcomed a presidential statement by the Security Council calling for the resumption of talks to reach an agreement on the filling and operation of a giant dam that Ethiopia constructs on the Blue Nile.
On Wednesday the Security Council adopted a presidential statement calling on Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan to resume negotiations under the auspices of the African Union Chairperson on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) in order to reach an agreement within a reasonable time frame.
The three concerned countries issued separate statements as Sudan and Egypt welcomed the move while Ethiopia rejected it saying conflict over water is not within the Council mandate.
In Khartoum, the foreign ministry stated that the presidential statement shows the Council’s interest in the GERD crisis and its keenness to find a solution to avoid its repercussions on security and peace in the region.
“The Ministry also expresses its hope that the adoption of the statement will prompt the three parties to resume negotiations as soon as possible, according to a new methodology and concrete political will, under the auspices of the African Union,” further stressed the statement.
Sudan considers that direct talks with a very limited role of the African Union are not suitable. Khartoum accuses Addis Ababa of changing positions and seeking to win time while advancing in the construction of the dam to make a matter of fact without agreement.
Instead, Khartoum proposes that the African Union, backed by the United States, European Union and United Nations, should play a proactive role and not only calls for the meeting and joins the observers as was the case during the South African’s chairmanship to the regional body.
For its part, Ethiopia says the talks on the GERD have been delayed by the unwillingness of Sudan and Egypt to reach an agreement.
“The main reason for the delay in the negotiation is the reluctance of Sudan and Egypt to enter into negotiation. But there is no substitute for a tripartite negotiation before or now. What is coming up is that it will end only in a tripartite negotiation,” Ethiopian Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Dina Mufti said on Thursday.
Dina also said that the Congolese Foreign Minister Christophe Lutundula was received by Ethiopian Foreign Minister Demeke Mekonnen to discuss the resumption of the talks on the dam.
Mekonnen “Affirmed Ethiopia’s determination to continue the tripartite talks at any given time,” said the spokesman before adding “It would be possible to narrow the differences between the three countries by resuming the negotiation as soon as possible.”
Lutundula was Wednesday in the Sudanese capital where he 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.
In Cairo, Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry stated that Congo’s foreign minister current chairperson of the African Union had handed over a roadmap for the resumption of the talks on the GERD.
Shoukry added that the talks would take once the parties study the proposed plan.