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Egypt, Sudan say AU-sponsored GERD negotiations reached dead end

Egypt and Sudan issued a joint statement on Wednesday after foreign and irrigation ministers from both countries held a meeting on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, announcing that the negotiations with Ethiopia have reached another deadlock.

A high-level Egyptian delegation with Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and Irrigation Minister Mohamed Abdel Aaty visited Khartoum on Wednesday to hold intensive talks with the Sudan, including Sudanese Foreign Minister Maryam al-Sadiq al-Mahdi and Sudanese Irrigation Minister Yasser Abbas, as well as technical and legal experts from both sides.

The talks took place in a friendly and positive atmosphere characterized by mutual understanding, the statement said, which focused around developments of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam – with both parties agreeing on the serious risks posted by any unilateral filling of the dam by Ethiopia.

They stressed the importance of coordinating to push push Ethiopia to negotiate seriously in good faith in order to reach a just, comprehensive legally binding agreement on the dam’s filling following the latest deadlock, the statement added.

They also agreed on further coordination to protect peace and stability in the region and Africa at large, which will require active intervention by the international community to ward off risks related to Ethiopia’s continued pursuit of imposing a fait accompli on the downstream countries and its unilateral trajectory, shown by its announcement to fill the dam during the upcoming flood season without taking into account the interests of Sudan and Egypt.

The ministers expressed deep concern about the potential consequences of filling and operating the GERD unilaterally and without a legally binding agreement regulating the dam’s operation while protecting the rights and water interests of Sudan and Egypt.

They also touched on the the importance of concerted international efforts to reach a settlement to the dispute that takes into account the interests of the three countries.

And the statement said that the talks discussed bilateral ties between Egypt and Sudan, which both sides were eager to strengthen.

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