African solutions to African problems

30 Jun 2020

Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan to resolve outstanding GERD issues within two weeks

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In pursuit of an African solution to African problems, the leaders of Ethiopia, Sudan, and Egypt held a meeting via video conference on 26th June on finalizing the technical negotiations on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

Leaders of the three countries met with the Bureau of the African Union Assembly facilitated by the current Chair of the African Union and President of the Republic of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa. The meeting was also attended by the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat.

“The Nile and the GERD are African issues that must be given African solutions.”

Following the tripartite leaders’ meeting, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said the African Union, acting in a spirit of Pan-Africanism, is the right space to dialogue on issues that are of value to Africa, and that the GERD offers all stakeholders the opportunity for unprecedented economic growth and mutual development.

President Cyril Ramaphosa, Chair of the African Union convening the teleconference

The leaders of the three countries underscored that the Nile and the GERD are African issues that require African solutions. The meeting set directions on the way forward, in which the three countries have agreed to conclude the negotiations and to try to reach a final agreement on the few matters that are pending within the next two weeks.

Ethiopia is scheduled to begin filling the GERD within the next two weeks, during which the remaining construction work will continue.

Similarly, the Minister of Foreign Affairs attended a meeting with the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki, during which the minister briefed the Chairperson about the successive tripartite talks over the GERD and Ethiopia’s stance during the negotiations. He stressed Ethiopia’s refusal to recognise the terms of colonial-era treaties, which Ethiopia did not partake in and that unfairly by-passed the country’s legitimate right to utilize the Nile waters, adding that preparations are underway to commence the first phase of filling the reservoir according to schedule. Mr Moussa Faki Mahamat on his part expressed his belief that unresolved issues of the GERD would be solved in line with the spirit of the catchall phrase ‘African Solutions to African Problems’.
Egypt by-passed African conciliation mechanisms and appealed directly to the United Nations Security Council on the GERD matter. On 29th June, Ambassador Taye Atske-Selassie, Ethiopia’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, at the virtual Security Council meeting on Peace and Security in Africa, said that “Ethiopia does not believe the issue being discussed today has a legitimate place in the Security Council. This Council should not be a forum for settling scores and for exerting diplomatic pressure. It is, therefore, regrettable that the Council has allowed itself to be politicized in this manner.”

He added that “the African Union is now seized of the matter, and it is only appropriate that this Council allows the AU-led process to take its course.”

“The GERD offers a unique opportunity for transboundary cooperation between our sisterly countries. It should never be an object of competition or mistrust. In this spirit, Ethiopia will pursue an amicable solution through win-win negotiations.”

Ambassador Taye’s full statement is available on our website.

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