Joint cooperation in the Horn of Africa and Addis Ababa’s controversial Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) were the subjects of talks between Qatar’s deputy premier and Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdul-Rahman Al-Thani and Ethiopian Foreign Minister Redwan Hussein, according to statements released by both sides on Wednesday.
During Redwan’s visit to Qatar he tackled with Al-Thani the “importance of resolving differences peacefully and diplomatically,” Qatar's foreign ministry stated following their meeting.
Gedion Asfaw, a member of the GERD negotiating team, attended the meeting to address the “questions and comments raised regarding the dam,” Ethiopia’s foreign ministry wrote on Facebook.
The statement pointed out that “discussions covered, in particular, the status of GERD and bilateral relations, including regional issues.”
The Qatari-Ethiopian meeting was held amid the crisis between Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia over GERD.
Egypt and Sudan -- the downstream countries concerned about their water security -- have repeatedly announced their rejection of Ethiopia’s unilateral decision to fill and operate the dam amid the absence of a legally binding deal between them on the dynamics of the process.
Ethiopia insists on starting the second phase of filling GERD in July.
Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi told US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday that Egypt wants a binding, fair agreement that ensures its water security through stating clear rules for the filling and operation of the dam.
El-Sisi highlighted that the deal should also protect the interests of all parties concerned.