Chairman of Sudan’s Transitional Sovereignty Council Abdel-Fattah Al-Burhan reiterated on Saturday, the country’s stance in supporting a negotiated solution for the Nile dispute.
Al-Burhan’s remarks came as he met with US Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa Jeffrey Feltman in Khartoum. Feltman earlier met with Sudan's Foreign Minister Mariam Al-Mahdi.
The newly appointed envoy embarked on a tour that comprises Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia and Eritrea amid tensions in the region.
Al-Burhan highlighted the need for coordination among Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia to resolve the dispute on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), a statement by the sovereignty council read.
He also affirmed the necessity of the three countries reaching an agreement on the filling and operation of the dam.
Tensions have escalated - between the downstream countries of Egypt and Sudan along with the upstream country of Ethiopia - around the GERD issue. Previous rounds of African Union-sponsored talks, to reach a consensus, have all been deadlocked.
Ethiopia has reiterated its plans to execute the second phase of the filling – that is to take place in July – in spite of Egypt and Sudan's objections, which are due to the absence of a legally-binding agreement on the filling and operating of the dam.
Egypt and Sudan said they are not against development in Ethiopia and that they do not object the filling of the dam's reservoir, but have also highlighted the need to reach a binding agreement before the next rainy season.
El-Sisi warned Ethiopian officials, last April, that “all options are open” when it comes to facing threats to Egyptian water, triggering international concerns of a possible conflict in the region.
At his first stop - in Egypt - Feltman met with President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and Irrigation Minister Mohamed Abdel-Ati on Wednesday. Feltman held talks with the officials, which focused mostly on GERD.
Meeting Feltman, El-Sisi reiterated that Egypt will not accept harm to its water interests, saying that the GERD issue is “existential” to Egypt. Shoukry and Abdel-Ati were keen on affirming Egypt’s endeavor to reach a binding solution on the GERD matter.
Al-Burhan also discussed with Feltman, the tensions on the border between Sudan and Ethiopia.
Tensions rose between Sudan and Ethiopia over the ownership of the fertile Al-Fashqa region that lies within the Sudanese borders and is inhabited by Ethiopian and Sudanese farmers.
Sudan has deployed troops in Al-Fashqa in recent months, leading Ethiopia to accuse Sudan of having “invaded a land that is part of Ethiopia's territory.”
Al-Burhan told Feltman that the Sudanese armed forces were deployed within the Sudanese borders that Ethiopia had previously recognised itself and had been set by international agreements.
Al-Burhan said all that remains is border-marking.
The sovereign council chief also expressed Sudan’s readiness to work with Ethiopia on resolving the latter’s domestic issues, all based on the good neighbourhood relations between the two countries.
Al-Burhan called for the United States to stand by the Sudanese government against the challenges of the transitional period that Sudan is currently witnessing.
Feltman affirmed the importance the US attaches to Sudan, the Horn of Africa and the Red Sea security, hailing US-Sudan relations as old and deep-rooted.
Feltman also called for Sudanese assistance in order for him to succeed in his duties.