March 6, 2021 (KHARTOUM) – The visiting Egyptian President announced his agreement with Sudanese officials to reject the fait accompli policy that Ethiopia is trying to impose with regard to the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) process.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi arrived in Khartoum on Saturday, in his first visit to the neighbouring country since the ouster of President Omer al-Bashir.
The visit takes place after the signing of military cooperation agreements between the two countries amid the growing border tensions with Ethiopia, which was perceived in Khartoum as a close ally until recently.
The two downstream countries agreed recently to coordinate their positions on the talks over the GERD filling and operation. Also, Egypt voiced its support for a Sudanese proposal for an international mediation including the African Union, the European Union, the United Nations and the United State.
Observers in Khartoum says the visit is the political confirmation of the military and diplomatic axe the two countries have formed to confront the Ethiopian unilateral plans on the GERD and its claims over what Sudan considers as a delimited border since 1903.
In a joint press conference, al-Burhan said Sudan and Egypt have agreed on unified visions that serve the progress, development and growth of their nations and contribute to the stability of the two countries.
“We have discussed all the files that would support joint cooperation,” he added without going into the details of the talks.
For his part, President al-Sisi told reporters they agreed to enhance coordination and consultations on the GERD between the two downstream countries.
He further said they agreed on the need to resume negotiations as soon as possible and reach a legally binding agreement regarding the filling and operation of the giant dam before the next flood season.
The two countries “reject any approach based on seeking to impose a fait accompli (policy) and to extend control over the Blue Nile through unilateral measures that do not take into account the interests and rights of the two downstream countries,” he said.
“This is evidenced by Ethiopia’s announcement of its intention to implement the second phase of filling the GERD even if we do not reach an agreement regulating the filling and operation of this dam,” he further stressed.
Nine years after stalled talks on the filling and operation of the GERD, Ethiopia in July 2020 launched the first phase of the filling without even informing the Sudanese authorities of the process which directly affects the water supply of 20 millions of its population.
The second phase of the GERD filing may create further tensions between the three countries because it would take more time to stock more water.
However, the resumption of the talks requires an agreement over a new process, something that Addis Ababa seems not ready for.
While Sudan proposes a quadripartite mediation that Egypt support, Ethiopia now says willing to accept an African Union mediation only.