Egypt and Sudan announced, Monday, their reservations regarding the start of Ethiopia by the first filling of the Renaissance Dam, in the context of implementing a “unilateral measure” before reaching a binding agreement on the dam.
This came during a session held, through the technology of visual communication, between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia, sponsored by the African Union, to discuss reaching an agreement on filling and operating the Ethiopian dam, according to two statements issued by the ministries of irrigation in the two countries.
The reservation during the meeting comes about a week after Ethiopia approved on July 21 this year to start the Renaissance Dam, days after denying the completion of this in two statements by the Ethiopian Minister of Water, Irrigation and Energy, Cilicie Bekele, and state television.
The Sudanese Ministry of Irrigation said in its statement today that “its Minister, Yasser Abbas, during the session, informed about the reservation of Sudan regarding the unilateral action (the start of filling) from Ethiopia.”
Abbas considered the Ethiopian step “a harmful and disturbing precedent in the path of cooperation between the countries concerned.”
He called for “setting a clear and specific agenda for the next negotiation period that (Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia) agreed to take two weeks, and preparing clear protocols for the exchange of information between all parties.”
He stated that the start of negotiations was postponed to next week at the request of Sudan, for further consultations, without indicating a specific date.
The Egyptian Ministry of Irrigation said in a statement: “Both Egypt and Sudan have expressed their concerns about the unilateral filling implemented by Ethiopia.”
The statement emphasized that this “unilateral filling undermines the negotiations and raised many questions about the feasibility of the current course of negotiations and reaching an agreement on filling.”
The ministry continued: “The meeting concluded that the three countries should be given the opportunity to conduct internal consultations in light of recent developments (beginning to fill the dam), in the context of seeking to find solutions to the technical and legal sticking points.”
Also said it was agreed to hold a new meeting on August 3.
On July 21, the African Union held a mini-summit, with the participation of the three countries, nearly a week after the end of negotiations sponsored by the Union for about 10 days, without agreement, and the summit resulted in the call again for holding tripartite negotiations after the first round faltered.
Negotiations between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan have stalled over the past years, amid mutual accusations between Cairo and Addis Ababa of intransigence and the desire to impose unrealistic solutions.
While Addis Ababa says that it does not aim to harm the interests of Egypt and Sudan, and that the aim of building the dam is to generate electricity mainly.