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Saudi Arabia plans to mediate over GERD filling

GERD (Reuters photo)
February 17, 2021 (KHARTOUM) - Saudi Arabia said intending to mediate between Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia to end the 9-year dispute over the filling and operating of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

The negotiations over the GERD are stalled over how to fill the reservoir of the giant dam without affecting Egypt water supplies or threatening Sudan small dams.

The three countries also are divided on how to negotiate as Sudan propose to involve African mediators with the support of US and EU observers.

On Tuesday, the Saudi Minister of State for African Affairs Ahmed bin Abdul Aziz Qattan arrived in Khartoum where he met with senior officials, including Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok and Foreign Minister Mariam al-Mahdi.

"Saudi Arabia stands firmly with the water security of Arab countries, and my country seeks to end the issue of the Renaissance Dam in a manner that guarantees the rights of the three countries," Qattan told reporters, after his meeting with Hamdok on Wednesday.

He said he had met earlier with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, upon the directives of the King Salman of Saudi Arabia.

"We will continue the good offices to end this important and thorny file," he added.

For her part, Foreign Minister Maryam Al-Sadiq stressed that the filling and operating of the Ethiopian dam should be done is within the framework of a binding legal agreement, and confirmed her country’s commitment to dialogue with the aim of reaching a solution that satisfies all parties.

In a related development, Hamdouk chaired a meeting of the Supreme Committee on the GERD to discuss Ethiopian statements about its intention to start the second filling of the dam next July even without reaching an agreement on exchanging information.