Sudanese-Egyptian talks were held in Khartoum on the Renaissance Dam after the latest attempts to revive the stalled negotiations faltered, while Ethiopia accused the downstream countries of not wanting to negotiate, and announced their adherence to their position on mobilizing and operating the dam.
Today, Thursday, Sudanese Minister of Irrigation, Yasser Abbas, ended the first round of bilateral talks with his Egyptian counterpart, Mohamed Abdel-Ati, who is visiting Sudan at the head of an expanded delegation to discuss aspects of joint cooperation between the two countries, including the stalled negotiations of the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam between Sudan, Ethiopia and Egypt under African Union supervision.
The Egyptian minister’s visit to Khartoum includes meetings with a number of Sudanese officials, according to what an informed Sudanese source said.
The Egyptian delegation’s visit comes after a one-day visit by a delegation from the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the Sudanese capital, as part of an initiative to support the Renaissance Dam negotiations, which have been stagnant since last November.
The Sudanese News Agency said that the visit came within the framework of an Emirati effort “to bring points of view between Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia, and to break the deadlock in the negotiations of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.”
It quoted a Sudanese source as saying that the Emirati delegation met officials in the Sudanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Irrigation and listened to a detailed explanation about Sudan’s position in the dam file, adding that the Emirati initiative did not come at a request from his country.
The meeting that took place a few days ago between the irrigation ministers in Sudan, Ethiopia and Egypt did not lead to a rapprochement of the positions on the Renaissance Dam, nor did the African mediation achieve any progress towards resolving this crisis.
Negotiations have stalled since last November, after several rounds failed to approximate positions between the three countries concerned, especially between Ethiopia and Egypt, regarding the rules for mobilizing and operating the dam that is being built on the Blue Nile near the Ethiopian-Sudanese borders, at a cost of more than 4 billion. Dollars.
Meanwhile, a member of the Ethiopian delegation to the Renaissance Dam negotiations, Yilma Seleshi, accused Sudan of obstructing the negotiations, after Khartoum had set conditions for returning to it.
Seleshi said that the negotiations are taking place at the request of Egypt and Sudan, not Ethiopia, adding that there is no reason for Ethiopia to continue negotiations if the downstream countries do not want it.
The Ethiopian official emphasized that the filling and operation of the dam will be carried out in accordance with international law, and that Addis Ababa has no intention of prejudicing the interests of Egypt and Sudan, indicating that his country wants everyone to benefit from development through the fair use of water.
For his part, the Ethiopian Foreign Ministry spokesman Dina Mufti said that parties – he did not name them – seek to thwart the efforts of the African Union in the Renaissance Dam crisis, so that the crisis is not resolved through an African mechanism, as he put it.
Last Monday, Sudanese Foreign Minister Omar Qamar Eddin announced that his country had submitted conditions to the African Union to return to “meaningful” negotiations in the Renaissance Dam file, indicating that Khartoum had other “options”.
Kamaruddin explained that the negotiations during the last period were not meaningful because they were focused directly between the three countries, whose positions diverged from the beginning, stressing his adherence to the African Union experts playing a greater role to overcome the negotiation process.
He referred to Sudan’s protest to the African Union against Addis Ababa’s intention to continue the process of filling the dam for the second year next July without an agreement, describing what is being done as a violation of international law.
Diplomatic sources in the African Union had revealed to Al Jazeera that during the past 24 hours, South Africa had conducted secret high-level contacts with Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan, separately, to make a breakthrough on the Renaissance Dam file before the African Union’s presidency moved from South Africa to the Congo.
The three countries have been engaged in stalled negotiations over the dam since 9 years ago, amid mutual accusations between Cairo and Addis Ababa of intransigence and an attempt to impose unrealistic solutions.
Addis Ababa insists on filling the dam with water even if it does not reach an agreement on it with Cairo and Khartoum, while the latter two insist on the need to first reach a binding, tripartite agreement, to ensure that their annual share of the Nile water is not negatively affected.