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Friday, 29 May 2020

Egypt expresses disappointment over Sudan's reservations regarding Arab resolution on GERD

Zeinab El-Gundy , Monday 9 Mar 2020
Ministry of Foreign AffairsFile Photo: The Egyptian Foreign Ministry in Cairo (Photo: Reuters)
File Photo: The Egyptian Foreign Ministry in Cairo (Photo: Reuters)
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Egypt's foreign ministry spokesperson Ahmed Hafez expressed his disappointment on Sunday with a statement issued by the Sudanese foreign minister concerning Sudan’s reservations over an Arab League resolution supporting Egypt in the dispute with Ethiopia over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

"Egypt provided the Sudanese permanent representative at the Arab League with the draft resolution on 1 March, and was keen to remain in touch with the Sudanese side to receive any comments, but did not receive any," Hafez said in a statement.

The statement added that the Egyptian delegation to the Arab League dropped Sudan's name from the draft resolution upon its request. Sudan then asked for the introduction of a number of amendments that empty the resolution of its meaning and weaken the unilateral Arab position, the statement explained.

The Sudanese foreign ministry said in its statement, issued earlier on Sunday, that it had its reservations concerning the draft resolution proposed by Egypt because it was issued without any consultation with the Sudanese government.

The Sudanese statement added that the draft resolution did not serve “the spirit of dialogue and negotiations between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia under the sponsorship of the US administration and the World Bank concerning the GERD.”

The statement issued by Khartoum called on both Cairo and Addis Ababa to return to the talks for the best interest of the three countries.

According to the Egyptian foreign ministry spokesperson, the resolution only stressed the Arab solidarity with Egypt's water rights and international law concerning this issue, and called on Ethiopia to sign the agreement drafted to regulate the operation of the GERD and the filling of its reservoir as brokered by the US Department of Treasury.

Both statements by the Sudanese and Egyptian foreign ministries came within 24 hours following a phone call between the chairman of the Sovereign Council of Sudan Abdel-Fattah Al-Burhan and Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi.

Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry embarked on a regional tour on Saturday involving seven Arab countries where he discussed the developments in the GERD talks.

Sudan is yet to sign the agreement on the GERD drafted by the US Treasury Department, whereas Ethiopia skipped the last round of US-mediated talks between the three countries in Washington.

Egypt, which initialled the agreement, described it as "fair and balanced" and said it "achieves the interest of the three countries," while Ethiopia accused the United States of being "undiplomatic" in its efforts to resolve the dispute

Ethiopia hopes the mega project will make it Africa's biggest power exporter. Cairo, however, fears the dam, which is under construction near Ethiopia's border with Sudan, would significantly diminish its water supply from the Nile, its major source of freshwater. 

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