A file photo of Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (Photo: Reuters)
In the first official reaction from Ethiopia over the Sudanese suggestion for an international Quartet committee to mediate in the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) talks, Ethiopia stated on Tuesday that it has not received the suggestion officially and it was ready to resume the tripartite negotiations.
In statements to Ethiopian News agency “ENA”, Ethiopian foreign ministry Spokesperson Dina Mufti stated that Ethiopia has not officially received Sudan and Egypt’s suggestion for an international quartet committee, adding that the three countries are involved alone in the talks and not the mediators.
"The tripartite talks between Ethiopia, Sudan, and Egypt on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam should be concluded between the three countries themselves, not through mediators," he said. "The role of mediators is facilitating the talks, not spoon-feeding the process."
Mufti added that Ethiopia has "big respect for the African Union" and that the country "believes in resolving African problems by Africans."
Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok on Monday officially invited the United Nations, the United States, the European Union, and the African Union (AU) to mediate in the stalled talks between Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia over the disputed GERD.
Sudan has recently proposed the formation of an international quartet to help the three countries reach a legally binding agreement on the filling and operation of the Ethiopian dam.
Egypt has officially endorsed the suggestion during the visit of PM Hamdok to Cairo last Friday.
“We have a big respect to the Africa Union and its role to solve the problems of Africa” Dina Mufti said to ENA.
“Ethiopia is ready for negotiations” He said, adding at the same time if the negotiations ended before the second filing of the dam, Ethiopia won’t face a problem.
Ethiopian officials have already stated the second filing of the GERD will occur in August 2021.
Egypt has maintained that the speed of the filling of the GERD threatens its share of the Nile’s water.
Sudan, meanwhile, says the GERD threatens its dams on the Nile and that the second filling of the dam jeopardises the lives of 20 million of its citizens.
“The tripartite talks between Ethiopia, Sudan, and Egypt will end by the three countries and not the mediators,” Mufti said, adding that the negotiator’s role should be for coordination and not for division.
Concerning the tensions between Sudan and Ethiopia, Mufti stated that Ethiopia was not “silent” concerning the borders between it and Sudan.