Egyptian Irrigation Minister Mohamed Abdel-Ati (L) and South Sudanese Foreign Minister Beatrice Khamisa Wani prior to a meeting held in the capital Juba on Monday, 21 June 2021. (photo: Egypt's Ministry of Irrigation and Water Resources)
Egyptian Irrigation Minister Mohamed Abdel-Ati has said that Egypt's flexibility during the negotiations over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) has been met with intransigence from Ethiopia.
In a meeting on Monday, Minister Abdel-Ati discussed with South Sudanese Foreign Minister Beatrice Khamisa Wani the latest developments concerning the decade-long row between Cairo, Khartoum, and Addis Ababa over the GERD.
Egypt and Sudan have resorted to international diplomacy in the past weeks, briefing regional and international counterparts on their stances and developments in the latest deadlock in negotiations.
Tripartite negotiations between Ethiopia and downstream countries Egypt and Sudan stalled in April after Addis Ababa rejected the two countries' request to include the US, the EU, and the UN in mediation talks, alongside the African Union (AU), the current mediator.
Tensions have mounted further as Addis Ababa remains intent on moving forward with the second filling of the GERD’s reservoir next month despite the lack of a binding instrument with Cairo and Khartoum.
Minister Abdel-Ati, who is on a multi-day visit to Juba that started earlier today and is set to last until Friday, is set to hold talks on promoting bilateral cooperation, including in the field of water management, the Egyptian Ministry said in a statement.
Abdel-Ati and Wani also discussed boosting cooperation between Cairo and Juba via the Egyptian-South Sudanese higher committee, which is expected to convene in Cairo in July.
Minister Abdel-Ati expressed his appreciation for the staunch relations between the two countries, and the continued efforts made by both sides to strengthen all aspects of cooperation.
Abdel-Ati is due to meet senior South Sudanese government officials and tour many projects that Egypt is implementing there.
The Egyptian irrigation ministry has established six groundwater plants around Juba and seven more inside the capital.
Some river piers have also been established to connect major cities and villages in South Sudan, according to a previous statement by Abdel-Ati.