File photo: Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). AFP
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has affirmed the importance of resuming dialogue on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) in a spirit of reaching a compromise, a UN statement said.
Guterres made the remarks in a meeting on Friday with Ethiopia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Demeke Mekonnen in New York on the sidelines of the 76th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA).
Guterres underlined the UN support for the mediation efforts made by the African Union regarding the dam dispute, the statement added.
Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia have recently expressed readiness to engage in the AU-sponsored negotiations aiming to resolve their dispute over the mega dam Addis Ababa is building on the Blue Nile.
The UN Security Council issued a statement earlier in September encouraging the three sides to return to the AU-sponsored talks to reach a binding deal.
Rounds of AU-sponsored talks to resolve the decade-long dispute have collapsed, with Egypt and Sudan expressing grave concerns about the potential impact of the GERD.
Egypt and Sudan’s call for a legally-binding agreement on the filling and operation of the dam have been resisted by Ethiopia, which implemented the second phase of filling the dam’s reservoir unilaterally in July without an agreement.
In TV remarks on the fringe of the UNGA meetings, Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said Egypt welcomes an anticipated decision by DR Congo, the current chair of the AU, to resume the GERD negotiations.
Shoukry affirmed the importance of Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia resuming the GERD negotiations in a framework that is strengthened by the participation of international observers, hailing the international role in this regard as “indispensable”.
Earlier this month, DR Congo’s Foreign Minister Christophe Lutundula embarked on an official visit to Ethiopia, Sudan, and Egypt to discuss arrangements regarding the resumption of the GERD talks.
Shoukry, during a press conference with Lutundula in Cairo, said Egypt received a vision and plan from the DR Congo on the resumption of the AU-sponsored talks regarding the GERD during the coming period.