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Observers hold separate talks with Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan over GERD filling

GERD under construction (Ethiopian FM photo)
July 5, 2020 (KHARTOUM) - The observers of the African Union, European and the United States on Sunday held separate meetings with Egyptian, Ethiopian and Sudanese negotiating delegations over the filling of Renaissance Dam known also as the GERD.

During the past months, the observers accompanied the direct talks to resolve the dispute first filling of the $4.8-billion dam.

Now, in a process initiated by the Chairperson of the African Union and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, they are moving to mediate the talks and put some concrete propositions on the negotiating table.

To this end, on Sunday they met separately with the negotiating teams headed by the irrigation ministers of the three countries who failed during two days to mark some progress in the talks.

During Sunday meetings, the three countries explained their positions and how they consider responding to the concerns of the two others.

Egyptian and Sudanese delegations issued statements after their videoconference meeting with the observers who recently invited a team of legal experts to join them.

The Egyptian delegation spokesman Mohamed al-Subai insisted on the sensitivity of the Renaissance Dam issue to the Egyptian people because it threatens its vital national interests and their survival.

"During the meeting with the observers, Egypt tackled the technical and legal aspects and clarified the Egyptian concerns regarding the various aspects of the agreement on the filling and operation of the Renaissance Dam," said al-Subai.

He further stressed that they presented a proposal to achieve the Ethiopian goal -generating electricity - without causing harm to the interests of the downstream countries.

Ethiopian officials accuse Egypt of seeking to prevent development projects in their country and to improve the life of 65 million of its nationals who currently live in darkness.

Ethiopia also says the Egyptian proposal aims to control the dam and its development projects.

For its part, the Sudanese delegation said they explained to the observers the impact of the dam on the downstream countries based on studies done by Sudanese experts.

"Also, the Sudanese delegation reviewed few disputed technical points, (...) in addition to the pending legal issues as well as Sudan’s fair and balanced proposals to resolve all outstanding technical and legal issues," said the Sudanese negotiating team in a statement released after the meeting.

After what the Sudanese negotiating delegation answered several questions and explained technical issues raised by the observers, said the statement.

The observers and the three parties will hold a joint virtual meeting on Monday.

(ST)