Egypt ready for negotiation with Ethiopia, Sudan over dam dispute

by Abdulmumeen S. Yitta
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Egypt has expressed desire to resume negotiations with Sudan and Ethiopia over the filling of a controversial mega-dam which has been a source of tension among the three countries.

While disclosing this in a statement on Friday May 22, 2020, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said the country was ready to reach an agreement with the other two countries.

“Egypt is always ready to enter into negotiations and participate in meetings to reach a fair, balanced and comprehensive agreement,” the statement reads.

The ministry further stated that water interest of all the three countries concerned would be taken into consideration in the agreement.

Egypt’s resolve for an agreement over the issue came following a virtual meeting held on Thursday between Abdalla Hamdok, Sudanese Prime Minister and Abiy Ahmed, Ethiopian Prime Minister.

The meeting was held following an announcement by Ethiopia saying it would not delay filling Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), which the country has begun constructing since 2011.

The talks between the ministers of the two countries would be the first since diplomatic spat broke out between Egypt and Ethiopia got to United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

The reservoir which has 74 billion cubic metres capacity has been the source of fear for both Egypt and Sudan based on the fact that it is capable of trapping their essential water supplies.

“On May 1st the Egyptian Foreign Minister, Sameh Shoukry, in a letter to the the UNSC expressed their concern over the dam saying that filling the dam “would jeopardise the water security, food security, and indeed, the very existence of more than 100 million Egyptians, who are entirely dependent on the Nile River for their livelihood,”
Gedu Andargachew, Ethiopian Foreign Minister gave a response to Egypt saying that Egypt is an obstructionist for its move against filling the dam.

The Minster also said, “Ethiopia does not have a legal obligation to seek the approval of Egypt to fill the dam.”

Earlier this year in talks facilitated by the US Treasury Department Egypt expects Ethiopia to endorse a draft agreement that resulted from the talks.

The US Treasury Department had got involved in bringing about the talks after a request was put forward to President Donald Trump.
Ethiopia however skipped most of the talks recently held and denied they had ever agreed on any deals.

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