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Egypt Hopes Sudan Rapprochement Would Break Deadlock in Renaissance Dam Talks

Egypt Hopes Sudan Rapprochement Would Break Deadlock in Renaissance Dam Talks

Monday, 27 May, 2019 - 06:45
Egyptians wait for a ferry to cross the Nile river in the island of Warraq in the Egyptian capital Cairo on March 12, 2019. (AFP)

Egypt has been hoping that the rapprochement with the new authority in Sudan would help break the deadlock in the negotiations between Cairo and Addis Ababa on the Renaissance Dam.

Last Saturday, head of Sudan's ruling military council General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan visited Cairo and asserted his rejection to build relations with states harming Egypt or Gulf countries.

Dr. Hani Raslan, an expert on Sudan at Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies in Cairo, told Asharq Al-Awsat on Sunday that Burhan’s statements reveal the Sudanese military council’s foreign policy.

“Sudan’s decision not to harm Egypt also includes talks on the Renaissance Dam, which has caused differences between the three concerned parties,” said Raslan.

The project on the Nile has caused problems with Cairo, which fears the dam will restrict the river’s waters coming down from Ethiopia's highlands, through the deserts of Sudan, to Egyptian fields and reservoirs.

The planned 6,000-megawatt dam is the centerpiece of Ethiopia's bid to become Africa's biggest power exporter.

Ethiopia’s leaders insist the dam will not impact Egypt and Sudan.

Last April, Egypt announced that a Cairo ministerial meeting on negotiations has been postponed, following the toppling of the Sudanese regime.

“There is no agreement yet on a new date for resuming the meetings,” Mohammed Al-Sibai, the spokesman for Egypt’s Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation, told Asharq Al-Awsat.

Raslan, too, did not expect the negotiations between the concerned parties to take a different course. Sudan is busy with its internal problems, and the country’s foreign policy is currently not a priority for the ruling military council, the expert said.

“However, the rapprochement between Sudan and Egypt would have a positive impact,” Raslan said.

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