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Sudan rejects resumption of talks on Ethiopian dam without mediation: statement


GERD under construction (Ethiopian FM photo)
November 19, 2020 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan reiterated its refusal to resume negotiations on the "Renaissance Dam" unless a mediation body has been established.

Also, the Sudanese government directed its criticism against South Africa, the chairman of the African Union, for refusing its request to refer the file to the AU Bureau of the head of states and governments.

In a meeting held on 4 November, the three riparian countries Sudan Ethiopia and Egypt failed to agree on the role that the African Union, the European Union and the United States can play to end the eight-year trilateral talks over the filing of the Grand Renaissance Ethiopian Dam.

In a videoconference meeting on Thursday, South Africa’s Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor said that the parties should resume direct talks as it was the case before.

In response, the Sudanese delegation announced its rejection of the proposal and slammed the South African for ignoring its positions and requests.

"During the meeting, Sudan stressed that it would not continue negotiations under the previous approach. Further, it demanded to return to the African Union (Bureau) to endorse the role of experts and to boost the negotiations politically to reach an agreement to the satisfaction of all parties," said a statement issued by the irrigation ministry in Khartoum.

The statement went further to directly attacking the position of the South African minister saying it has committed a clear procedural violation.

"In spite of repeated clarifications of the Sudanese position, Mrs Pandor, Chairperson of the meeting - in clear procedural violation- called to continue negotiations for the next ten days," added the statement.

Sudan believes unproductive, such a method, because it has been repeatedly experienced in the past, without significant progress, stressed the Sudanese government.

Sudan has been trapped between, Ethiopian desire to take control of the Nile water to produce power and Egypt struggle to ensure that its water share remains unchanged.

For the Sudanese government, the main concern is that its small dams on the Blue Nile not be harmed by the water flow and it proposes to reach a tightened coordination mechanism.

Sudanese officials say the experts and mediators will give them the time to defend their own interests in this endless discussions. Also, they point out that they have been continuously accused of taking side for Egypt or Ethiopian.

The South African top diplomat ignored several Sudanese requests to refer the file to the AU bureau and even did not respond to their letters.

South African chairmanship of the African Union Bureau will end within two months.

In Cairo, the Egyptian irrigation ministry said its delegation stressed the need to resume negotiations as soon as possible to reach a legally binding agreement on filling and operating the Renaissance Dam.

The Ethiopian government, which is busy with the Tigray crisis, did not issue a statement on the meeting but the Sudanese government said its position was similar to the Egyptian government.


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