Sudanese Foreign Minister Ali Al-Sadiq said on Sunday that Sudan, Egypt, and Ethiopia are “negotiating for their vital interests” in the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) crisis, noting that “it is not excluded that the positions of the parties intersect.”
Al-Sadiq added that the negotiations “stopped in the first week of July,” and “the date of their resumption has not been determined.”
Moreover, Sudanese Irrigation Minister Dawat Abdel Rahman also said that his country is holding consultations with Egypt and Ethiopia on the issue, stressing that Sudan is “open to any international and regional calls for a settlement on the crisis.”
“We are now discussing with Egypt and Ethiopia the process of filling and operating the Renaissance Dam, and at the same time we are looking forward to reaching a legally binding tripartite agreement for all parties,” he said.
Negotiations on the GERD have been frozen for more than a year, as Cairo and Khartoum are committed to first reaching a trilateral agreement on filling and operating the dam to ensure the continuation of the flow of their annual share of Nile river water, but Ethiopia rejects this, asserting that its dam, which began construction about a decade ago, “is not intended to harm anyone.”
On Friday, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry sent a letter to the president of the UN Security Council, calling on him to “intervene” after Ethiopia’s decision to continue filling the GERD unilaterally, stressing that Cairo will not tolerate any violation to its water rights.
Shoukry said that continuing to fill the dam without an agreement “is a clear violation of the 2015 Declaration of Principles agreement” and “a grave violation of the applicable rules of international law, which oblige Ethiopia as an upstream country not to harm the rights of downstream countries.”
The Sudanese Foreign Ministry protested in May over the statements of the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam director, Kifley Horo, in which he ruled out stopping the dam’s filling operations, which he expected to occur in August and September, noting that this” increases tension and represents a violation of previous agreements.”
The Ethiopian News Agency reported that the construction of the dam has reached more than 80%, noting that electricity was generated from the dam on 20 February.
Horo revealed at the time that the energy generated from the dam had been added to the electricity grid in Ethiopia, and stressed that the dam’s construction would not stop for any reason.
“The dam is impervious, and any talk about its risks and the possibility of its collapse is incorrect,” he said, adding that Ethiopia had exchanged information on the dam with Egypt and Sudan.
Since 24 July, the US Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa, Mike Hammer, has been on a visit to Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Ethiopia until 1 August to discuss the GERD crisis.
The US State Department said in a statement that the special envoy will confirm the support of the United States (US) to reach a diplomatic solution to issues related to the GERD, in the interests of all parties, and contribute to making the region more peaceful and prosperous.