Bureau of the Assembly of African Union (AU) Heads of State and Government urged Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan, with support of AU experts and observers, to work expeditiously to finalise text of binding agreement on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) filling and operation.
In a Friday statement, the Bureau of the Assembly of AU Heads of State and Government welcomed the report of AU Experts on the resumed Trilateral Negotiations on the mega Nile dam, which reflected notable progress in the negotiations and presented options for resolving outstanding legal and technical issues.
The statement added that the Bureau welcomed the agreement amongst the parties to the GERD to work on a Comprehensive Agreement on the Blue Nile River as soon as possible.
“The Meeting of the Bureau of the Assembly of AU Heads of State and Government was held in a fraternal spirit guided by the principle of Pan-African solidarity and cooperation and the attendant desire to find an African solution to an African problem. The Bureau of the Assembly of AU Heads of State and Government welcomed the report of AU Experts on the resumed Trilateral Negotiations on the GERD, which reflected notable progress in the negotiations and presented options for resolving outstanding legal and technical issues,” the statement read.
It further added that GERD parties expressed their confidence in the AU-led process and reaffirmed their utmost commitment to finding a mutually beneficial and negotiated agreement pertaining to the dam’s matter. “They underscored the importance of cooperation as a basis for integration, sustainable development and prosperity for the three countries.”
This came as Ethiopia announced that its first-year target for filling the Blue Nile dam has been reached due to the heavy rain the country has witnessed in the past two weeks. Egypt and Sudan have agreed to further technical discussions on outstanding issues as part of an AU-led process.
Tensions escalated last week after reports surfaced claiming that Ethiopia had begun filling the dam’s reservoir. The country’s Minister of Water, Irrigation, and Electricity, Sileshi Bekele, had initially told Ethiopia’s official broadcast service that filing had begun, although he retracted the statement in a matter of hours. The last round of negotiations, which were sponsored by the AU, failed to reach fruitful results on the dam’s disputed technical and legal points.
The mini-summit was convened by President Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa, President of South Africa, in his capacity as the Chairperson AU on 21 July 2020.