May 21, 2020
Days after a high-level Sudanese delegation concluded two days of political consultation in Addis Ababa regarding border issues and the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, Ethiopian prime minister Abiy Ahmed and Sudanese PM Abdalla Hamdok held a virtual meeting on outstanding issues of the dam.
According to information from the office of Ethiopian Prime Minister, the two countries have agreed to continue ministerial-level technical discussions.
Water Ministers from the two countries (they have attended the virtual meeting with the Prime Ministers of the two countries), will carry on the discussion.
“Together with my Ministers for Foreign Affairs and Water Affairs, I had the pleasure of having a virtual discussion with my brother Prime Minister Abdala Hamdok on an amicable solution to outstanding GERD issues,” Abiy Ahmed wrote on his social media page soon after the meeting with his Sudanese counterpart.
Furthermore, he said “we have agreed to continue with technical level engagements through our Water Ministers tasked to discuss outstanding issues and arrive at win-win solutions. I also reiterated the economic advantages of the GERD for all that we can seize through the spirit of collaboration.”
This week, the Sudan Tribune reported that Sudan and Egypt are on the same page about tripartite talks before Ethiopia started filling GERD. “Sudan and Egypt agreed on Tuesday that a tripartite agreement is crucial for the filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD)’s reservoir,” said Sudan Tribune report which was published on Tuesday.
The agreement was reached following a phone conversation between Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok and Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly of Egypt soon after the return of Sudanese delegation from Ethiopia.
The spokesperson of the United Nations issued a statement on Tuesday in which it encouraged the three countries (Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia) to emphasize “cooperation based on common understanding, mutual benefit, good faith, win-win, and the principles of international law.”
As mistrust towards the United States as a neutral mediator on GERD, which is manifested in the letter that the US treasury department published in late February, public opinion in Ethiopia is swinging towards the position that Ethiopia should not return to US-brokered agreement.
Irrigation, Water and Energy Minister of Ethiopia, Seleshi Bekele, has disclosed this week that the construction of GERD is completed 73 percent and that Ethiopia intends to fill the reservoir with 4.9 billion cubic meters of water during the coming rainy seasons.
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