Following invasion of Ethiopia in November 2020, Sudan fostering relation with Egypt and seeking mediators outside the tripartite negotiation and outside of Africa
The Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, Ambassador Dina Mufti, said on Tuesday that Ethiopia officially knows only the tripartite negotiation over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).
He said so during a regular weekly press briefing in the capital Addis Ababa. The only mediator Ethiopia knows is those involved in the tripartite negation.
The three countries have been negotiating with African Union as an observer after the US brokered negotiation in Washington failed in February 2020 as the United States sought to dictate in a way to benefit Egypt at the expense of Sudan. That time it was Egypt that initiated a US led mediation.
The AU led negotiation was hailed, especially by Ethiopia, as something that aligns with the principles of “African Solutions for African Problems.”
Foreign Minister Dina Mufti’s remark came days after the government of Sudan placed a formal request to the European Union, United Nations, United States and the African Union to mediate the stalled talk.
The decision came immediately after Sudanese Prime Minister, Abdella Hamdok, returned from a visit to Cairo.
The Sudan Tribune reported “The Sudanese Prime Minister, who returned from Cairo on Friday, sent a message to the United Nations Secretary-General, the President of the Democratic Republic of Congo who is also the Chairperson of the African Union, the EU High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, and the U.S. Secretary of State, requesting their mediation in the GERD process.”
In the same week, and again right after return from a visit to Cairo, Sudanese Prime Minister stated that the second round of filling of GERD constitutes a “national security threat” if done without the knowledge of Sudan and what now seems to be its partner, Egypt. The two countries have signed a military cooperation agreement recently.
Before changing its position in a way to support Egyptian position, Sudan has been skipping AU led tripartite negotiations. Sudan invaded Ethiopian territories in November 2020 as the Ethiopian troops based along the border were relocated to the northern part of Ethiopia as part of the law enforcement campaign against Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). And it is contesting the land that its troops controlled after November 2020 are Sudanese land that was under the occupation of Ethiopian troops.
Ethiopia is making preparations to use its share of the water to undertake the second filling of GERD during the rainy seasons of July and August. After retaining 18 billion cubic meters of water, Ethiopia seeks to start generating hydroelectric power from two turbines.
This week, Ethiopian state media, Fana Broadcasting Corporate (FBC) reported that an Ethiopian intellectuals’ council was established with the aim to support GERD ( in all its members). It draws membership from institutions of higher learning. And it is expected to support the negotiation in a more productive way.
Ethiopia’s $5 billion worth mega dam project is fully funded by local sources. Bonds had been sold for millions of Ethiopians.
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