South Africa, the current chair of the African Union, called on Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia to work towards an "amicable solution" for the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) following Addis Ababa's recent proposal that was slammed by Cairo and Khartoum for backtracking on previous agreements.
“South Africa commends the parties to the GERD for their commitment to finding an inclusive and durable agreement through dialogue and negotiation,” South Africa's official news agency reported a message by its international relations and cooperation minister Naledi Pandor on Thursday.
South Africa urged the three parties to continue to be guided by the spirit of Pan-African solidarity and fraternity, which has characterised the AU-led negotiations on the GERD, Pandor added.
“In this regard, it is important that the parties should display magnanimity and understanding of each other’s interests so as to move the process forward,” the agency wrote.
“It is expected that a report of the ongoing negotiations on outstanding technical and legal issues will be presented to President Ramaphosa in the next two weeks.”
A new round of talks was launched on Monday under the auspices of the African Union in the attendance of EU, US and AU observers. The negotiations hit a dead end on Tuesday when both Egypt and Sudan rejected an Ethiopian proposal.
Ethiopia sent a "guideline" for the filling of the dam and it was slammed by both downstream countries for backtracking on previous agreements.
Cairo said the draft of the guidelines and rules did not include the regulations of operating the dam nor any element that indicates that the agreement is legally binding, and that it lacked the legal mechanism to settle disputes.
Khartoum threatened to quit the talks as Ethiopia ignored the previous agreements and said this agreement should only focus on the filling of the dam and that the operating of the GERD in the long-term should be tied to reaching a convention on the water of the Blue Nile.
Last month, Addis Ababa said it had completed the first-year’s filling of the dam’s reservoir.
The first round of AU-sponsored talks over the project ended in July without reaching an accord. Both Egypt and Sudan have repeatedly reitirated their rejection of Ethiopia's unilateral action.