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African leaders agree to postpone filling of Ethiopian dam and to resume talks

GERD under construction (Ethiopian FM photo)
June 26, 2020 (KHARTOUM) - An African mini-summit agreed on Friday to resume talks between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan on the Renaissance dam, and to postpone the first filling of its reservoir until an agreement is reached between the three riparian countries.

The agreement was announced after a videoconference meeting convened by President Cyril Ramaphosa of the Republic of South Africa, and Chairperson of the African Union (AU) including the leaders of the three countries and the AU Bureau of Heads of State and Government.

The meeting was attended by President Abdel Fattah al Sisi of Egypt who is also a member of the AU Bureau, President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita of Mali, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, and President Felix Tshisekedi of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Also took part in the meeting Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, Sudanese Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok and the Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki.

In a statement released in Khartoum, Hamdok cabinet said that the meeting agreed to resume technical discussions to reach an agreement within the two weeks as it was proposed by the Ethiopian side.

The meeting further agreed that "the filling of the reservoir should be postponed until the signing of an agreement" between the three countries, further said a statement issued during the night.

During a series of meetings from 9 to 17 July the three countries agreed on about 95% of the technical issues related to the filling process, however, they failed to agree on the legal binding status of the agreement.

Following what, Egypt referred the matter to the United Nations Security Council accusing Ethiopia of threatening peace and security in the region. In return, Addis Ababa accused Cairo of seeing to transform the negotiated deal on the dam filling into a water-sharing agreement.

In a statement released after the meeting, the Egyptian presidency said that observers from the member states of the African Union Bureau will take part in the upcoming technical meetings.

Also, it was agreed to inform the Security Council about this development as it plans to discuss the matter during a meeting that will take place on Monday.

(ST)