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Sudan, Egypt, Ethiopia form committee to mull over observers’ role in GERD talks

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GERD (Reuters (photo)
November 1, 2020 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan, Ethiopia and Egypt formed a committee to develop a framework agreement on the role that African experts and the three international observers can play to facilitate the stalled negotiations on the filling of the Blue Nile mega-dam.

On Sunday the riparian countries resumed videoconference trilateral talks on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) after more than two months. The meeting was hosted by the Sudan government.

In a statement released at the end of the meeting, the Sudanese delegation said it suggested adopting a new approach to negotiation in which a greater role would be played by the African Union, the European Union and the United States to bridge the gap in viewpoints after the failure of the old model of direct negotiations during the past years.

"The discussions reviewed at length the negotiation methods and contexts as well as the expected role of the observers and African Union experts during the coming negotiation rounds".

The meeting also discussed the documents that were presented during the negotiations that have been going on for many years.

"The three parties agreed to continue discussing the issue through six-member teamwork - comprising two from each country - to set a frame of reference for the role of experts with regard to facilitating negotiations between the three countries".

The joint team will submit its report to the three water ministers on Wednesday.

Sudan has called since several months ago to seek out a new approach and voiced frustration with the Ethiopian handing of the process particularly after a proposal to negotiate a deal on sharing the waters of the Blue Nile.

Egypt has been calling for an international intervention to reach a peaceful settlement pointing that the GERD and other future dams on the Blue Nile threaten its vital water supplies.

Ethiopia, from its side, points to its right to development stressing that these projects aim to produce power not to use water.

(ST)

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