Egypt and Sudan have reiterated their call to reach a legally binding agreement on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), to protect the interests of the three parties.
The two countries have also reiterated that reaching such an agreement will also limit the damage they face as the two countries downstream to the dam.
The remarks came during a Tuesday meeting between Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry and his Sudanese counterpart Mariam Al-Sadik in Cairo. The two sides affirmed that they have the political will to settle the disputed points regarding the GERD’s filling and operation as soon as possible.
They also called on Ethiopia to show goodwill and engage in an effective negotiation process in order to reach a consensus. Both Cairo and Khartoum are concerned with the recent halt in talks that took place under the auspices of the African Union (AU).
“Ethiopia’s unilateral move to commence the second filling of GERD reservoir would pose a direct threat to the water security of Egypt and Sudan, especially with regard to the operation of Sudanese dams, and risk the lives of 20 million people in Sudan,” according to a joint statement.
Moreover, Shoukry and Al-Sadik noted that Ethiopia’s “unilateral move” would breach the Declaration of Principles concluded between the three countries in Khartoum on 23 March 2015.
The two parties renewed their adherence to the proposal submitted by Sudan and supported by Egypt on developing a new negotiation mechanism under the AU auspices. They suggested the formation of an international quartet led and managed by the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), in its capacity as the current chair of the AU.
The quartet should also include the United Nations (UN), the European Union (EU) and the United States (US) to mediate in negotiations. They also called on these four parties to adopt this proposal, announce their acceptance of it, and launch negotiations.
During the meeting, both Egypt and Sudan expressed their appreciation for South Africa’s efforts during its AU presidency in guiding the path of the GERD talks. They also welcomed the DRC assuming leadership of these negotiations.
The meeting concluded with an agreement between the two parties on continuing coordination and consultation over the Ethiopian dam’s issue, and briefing other Arab nations on the updates of the talks periodically, as well as boosting coordination with the UN Security Council regarding the issue.