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South, Egypt, Ethiopia to discuss possible mediation for GERD talks

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GERD (Reuters photo)January 2, 2021 (KHARTOUM) - The irrigation ministers of Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia will resume talks Sunday to discuss ways to establish a mediation team after nine years of endless direct talks over the Renaissance Dam.

On November 21, 2020, Sudan suspended its participation in the talks on the first filing of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) as the other parties declined its call for a new approach after nine years of futile negotiation.

The resumption of Sudanese participation comes after an agreement reached by Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok and his Ethiopian counterpart, Abiy Ahmed, on December 13.

"The acting Foreign Minister, Omer Gamar Eldin, and Irrigation Minister Yasser Abbas will participate in the ministerial meeting on the GERD which will take place on Sunday," said the official news agency SUNA on Saturday.

"The meeting will discuss Sudan’s proposal to re-energize the negotiations by giving a greater role to the African Union through its experts to reach a binding legal agreement on the Renaissance Dam," stressed the statement.

The meeting is expected to examine a draft understanding prepared by the African Union experts to reach a satisfactory agreement for the three parties.

The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Naledi Pandor, will chair the ministerial virtual meeting.

The three parties differ on technical and legal issues, including the need or no for a binding agreement, the future dispute settlement mechanism, the years needed for filling the GERD reservoir and how to manage the dam during periods of reduced rainfall or drought.

(ST)

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