File Photo: the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. REUTERS
The United States has urged on Friday the resumption of African Union (AU) mediated negotiations between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan over the disputed Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).
According to a press release, the US State Department said that Egypt and Sudan’s worries over water security, the safety and the operation of the dam “can be reconciled with Ethiopia’s development needs through substantive and results-oriented negotiations among the parties under the leadership of the AU, which must resume urgently”.
“We believe that the 2015 Declaration of Principles signed by the parties and the July 2020 statement by the AU Bureau are important foundations for these negotiations, and [that] the US is committed to providing political and technical support to facilitate a successful outcome,” the statement read.
The statement by the US State Department comes as US Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa, Jeffrey Feltman, concluded his first visit to the region after traveling to Egypt, Eritrea, Sudan and Ethiopia from May 4 to May 13.
“The Horn of Africa is at an inflection point, and the decisions that are made in the weeks and months ahead will have significant implications for the people of the region as well as for U.S. interests,” it read.
The visit by the US envoy to the region comes as tensions have mounted in the past weeks after the latest trilateral round of talks in Kinshasa, earlier in April, failed to produce an agreement to re-launch the deadlocked negotiations.
Ethiopia’s rejection of several proposals by Egypt and Sudan on the negotiation mechanism, which includes an international quartet mediation, has led to the collapse of the Kinshasa talks.
The three countries have resorted to diplomacy in the past weeks, briefing regional and international counterparts on their stances and developments on the latest deadlock in negotiations.
The efforts come as Ethiopia remains unwavering on forging ahead with the second filling of the dam — set to take place in July — despite the objections of Egypt and Sudan over the execution of such a move in the absence of a legally binding deal.
The second filling aims to collect around 18.4 bcm of Blue Nile water, up from the 4.9 bcm secured during the first filling last year.