Ethiopia’s Ambassador to Sudan Yebtal Imro said, on Saturday, that Sudan’s recent statement regarding its adherence to African Union (AU)-led talks to fill and operate the Ethiopian dam is a promising step.
Imro also said that such a step will help the three countries negotiating on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), namely Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia, reach a consensus.
The Ambassador’s statements came after a strongly worded statement by Sudan which described Ethiopia’s current intentions as mobilising public opinion on the controversial dam.
In a statement by Sudan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ethiopia was reminded of the rights of neighbours and international norms, and refuted the latter’s “fallacies” regarding the crisis.
In a sharp tone, Khartoum affirmed that Ethiopian efforts to disavow international agreements and treaties are irresponsible. It noted that Addis Ababa’s attempts to describe historical agreements as an unreliable colonial legacy represent a harmful and costly approach.
In response, Imro said that this comes for advertising reasons and for local consumption, according to a statement by Khartoum.
The Sudanese statement highlighted that Ethiopia’s disavowal of historical agreements means that it violates its sovereignty over the Benishangul-Gumuz region, in which this sovereignty has been transferred from Sudan under some of these same agreements.
Khartoum also warned Ethiopia against attempts to escape from its internal problems, by creating enmities with Sudan or other African countries.
Addis Ababa called for a different approach, a way of joint action that secures a prosperous future for the countries of the continent.
Sudan’s statement coincided with an African tour conducted by the country’s Foreign Minister Maryam Al-Sadiq, to outline Sudan’s position on the crisis.
The minister’s efforts reflect the same approach that Egypt took only recently, which saw Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry undertake an Africa tour to outline his country’s position.
Al-Sadiq called on African leaders to put pressure on Ethiopia to reach a binding agreement on the dam.
She said that her country called for an expansion of mediation regarding the dam crisis “because we are keen on productive negotiations” between the three parties.
Mohamed Ghanem, Spokesperson for Egypt’s Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation, said that Egypt had offered 15 scenarios to solve the crisis of filling and operating the dam, but Addis Ababa rejected them all.
Ghanem pointed out that Egypt “is very clear and wants a legally binding agreement to fill and operate the dam, and has shown all forms of flexibility in this.”
Addis Ababa insists on a second filling of the dam this coming July, even if it does not reach an agreement with the downstream countries, Egypt and Sudan.
Meanwhile, the latter two countries adhere to reaching a tripartite agreement to preserve their water facilities and ensure the continuation of their annual share of the Nile water.