Egypt, Sudan seek global action to end Nile dam deadlock

Ethiopia’s unilateral decision to resume filling the dam has been rejected by Egypt and Sudan

  
A man walks through a section of Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam as it undergoes construction work on the river Nile in Guba Woreda, Benishangul Gumuz Region, Ethiopia September 26, 2019.

A man walks through a section of Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam as it undergoes construction work on the river Nile in Guba Woreda, Benishangul Gumuz Region, Ethiopia September 26, 2019.

REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri
 
CAIRO: Leading Egyptian ministers and their Sudanese counterparts have called for global action in response to Ethiopia’s announcement that it will begin its second filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on July 22 with or without a deal.


Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Mohamed Abdel-Ati on Thursday held extensive talks in Khartoum with their Sudanese counterparts, Foreign Minister Mariam Al-Saddiq Al-Mahdi and Irrigation Minister Yasser Abbas.

Ethiopia’s unilateral decision to resume filling the dam has been rejected by Egypt and Sudan, both downstream countries, who have called the move “a clear violation of international law” that “threatens regional security and peace.”

Shoukry and Abdel-Ati arrived in Khartoum on Wednesday with a high-level Egyptian delegation to discuss the issue.

Both sides called for a settlement to the GERD dispute in a way that takes into consideration the interests of the three countries.

They reiterated the importance of coordinating efforts on the international, regional and African levels to press Ethiopia to enter serious negotiations with real political will in order to reach a fair and comprehensive legally binding agreement on filling and operating the dam.

This requires an active intervention by the international community to stop the dangers resulting from Ethiopia’s policy, which is based on seeking to impose a status quo on the two downstream countries, they said in a joint statement.

Ethiopia’s unilateral policy is reflected in its announcement that it intends to fill the GERD during the upcoming flood season without any consideration of the interests of Egypt and Sudan, they added.

The African Union-sponsored talks have been deadlocked.

Egypt and Sudan also agreed on the need to coordinate steps to protect the security, peace, and stability of the region in particular and Africa in general.

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