Egypt, Sudan seek global action to end Nile dam deadlock

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Workey Tadele, a radio operator, at the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), near Guba in Ethiopia, on December 26, 2019. - The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, a 145-metre-high, 1.8-kilometre-long concrete colossus is set to become the largest hydropower plant in Africa. Across Ethiopia, poor farmers and rich businessmen alike eagerly await the more than 6,000 megawatts of electricity officials say it will ultimately provide. Yet as thousands of workers toil day and night to finish the project, Ethiopian negotiators remain locked in talks over how the dam will affect downstream neighbours, principally Egypt. (Photo by EDUARDO SOTERAS / AFP)

Leading Egyptian ministers and their Sudanese counterparts have called for global action in response to Ethiopia’s announcement that it will begin its second filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on July 22 with or without a deal.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Mohamed Abdel-Ati on Thursday held extensive talks in Khartoum with their Sudanese counterparts, Foreign Minister Mariam Al-Saddiq Al-Mahdi and Irrigation Minister Yasser Abbas.
Ethiopia’s unilateral decision to resume filling the dam has been rejected by Egypt and Sudan, both downstream countries, who have called the move “a clear violation of international law” that “threatens regional security and peace.”
Shoukry and Abdel-Ati arrived in Khartoum on Wednesday with a high-level Egyptian delegation to discuss the issue.
Both sides called for a settlement to the GERD dispute in a way that takes into consideration the interests of the three countries.
They reiterated the importance of coordinating efforts on the international, regional and African levels to press Ethiopia to enter serious negotiations with real political will in order to reach a fair and comprehensive legally binding agreement on filling and operating the dam.
This requires an active intervention by the international community to stop the dangers resulting from Ethiopia’s policy, which is based on seeking to impose a status quo on the two downstream countries, they said in a joint statement.
Ethiopia’s unilateral policy is reflected in its announcement that it intends to fill the GERD during the upcoming flood season without any consideration of the interests of Egypt and Sudan, they added.
The African Union-sponsored talks have been deadlocked.
Egypt and Sudan also agreed on the need to coordinate steps to protect the security, peace, and stability of the region in particular and Africa in general.