June 14, 2021 (KHARTOUM) – The African Union delegation discussed with the Sudanese officials the involvement of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council in the negotiations on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).
Yasser Abbas, the Sudanese Minister of Irrigation, held a press conference in Khartoum on Monday, to brief the media about the developments in the negotiations on the GERD filling and operating, two months after the Kinshasa meeting, which dealt only with how to resume the pending negotiations since January.
Abbas stressed his government’s adherence to establishing a mediation led by the African Union to broker the negotiations on the giant dam including “influential countries and international organizations”.
He further said that the Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki and his accompanying delegation, which concluded a two-day visit to Khartoum on 14 June, did not make any proposals during its recent visit to Khartoum.
“There is nothing new in the African Union’s position and even yesterday we confirmed to the visiting African Union’s delegation Sudanese demand to strengthen the African Union (through the inclusion of the EU, UK and U.S.”
“We heard them talking about the five permanent members of the Security Council (P5). The African Union and the Five Permanents but they did not put forward any official proposal,” he said.
The African Union issued a statement about Faki’s visit to Khartoum but did not refer to their discussion with the Sudanese Minister of Irrigation on the Renaissance Dam.
The Sudanese minister added that there was no formal Emirati initiative, but rather a draft framework agreement. “There was no clear initiative or solutions,” he said.
Also, he said the U.S. Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa Jeffrey Feltman did not put forward any initiative, during his visit to Sudan last May.
In response to a question from a journalist about the support of some Arab countries to Ethiopia, and if such support prompted Addis Ababa to refuse to sign a binding agreement on the GERD, the minister said “Maybe.”
The UAE had announced its plans to invest in agricultural schemes in Ethiopia using the waters of the Renaissance Dam. The move angered Egypt considering it will harm its interests.
The Arab League foreign ministers will meet on Tuesday in Doha to take a unified position in support of Sudan and Egypt in the negotiations over the GERD with Ethiopia.
Abbas said that Sudan requested to hold this meeting adding it was one of the measures that Khartoum and Cairo agreed to coordinate during a meeting with the Egyptian Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Irrigation in Khartoum on June 9.
He further disclosed that the two countries had agreed to address the Security Council.
“Egypt had already filled its letter to the Council, and that the Sudanese government is in the process of taking the same step,” he stressed.
The minister stressed that the role of the international community is needed because their experience with the African Union from June 2020 up to now has shown that the regional body cannot resolve alone the ongoing dispute with Ethiopia.