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GERD: Egypt Finds Agreement With Sudan on Legal Matters

GERD: Egypt Finds Agreement With Sudan on Legal Matters

Tuesday, 7 July, 2020 - 09:15
Cairo, Khartoum- Waleed Abdurrahman and Mohammed Amin Yassine

Egypt said that it agreed with Sudan on legal aspects regarding the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

"There are almost identical points of view in the Egyptian and Sudanese perspectives on legal issues related to the dam," Egypt’s Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources Mohamed Abdel-Ati said, noting that technical differences still exist.

According to Abdel-Ati, what interests Sudan is different from that which interests Egypt, clarifying the former as the safety and security of GERD and its social and environmental impact.

Sudan is concerned about the implications of transferring the water current at the GERD.

Water ministers from the three involved nations – Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan – began a fresh series of virtual meetings on Friday to relaunch negotiations, now sponsored by South Africa, the current president of the African Union (AU), and scheduled to continue until July 11.

Cairo said it had “submitted a proposal that would achieve Ethiopia's goal,” noting that African Union brokered GERD talks will continue until July 11.

Sudan, for its part, briefed observers and a team of African experts on proposals it had presented in previous rounds of talks to overcome legal and technical disputes before filling up GERD.

Sudanese Irrigation Minister Yasser Abbas revealed that limited progress has been achieved over the legal issues during last Friday’s meeting. Abbas, however, did not reveal what issues witnessed the progress.

The African Union gave the delegations of the three countries a two-week deadline to continue the negotiations, which stopped on June 17, and if no consensus is reached, it may be proposed to extend the negotiations or return to the prime ministers of the three countries.

“We hope to reach an agreement soon,” Abbas said, pointing out that some observers are trying to bridge the gap between Sudan, Egypt, and Ethiopia.

During a phone interview with the Channel One TV show, Egypt’s Abdel-Ati said: “It is difficult now to say that we have reached something or a solution. We are still conducting negotiations until July 11.”

“We are negotiating until the last minute, and we will stand up to the results of the negotiations in the end. We want to reach an agreement on filling and operating the GERD.”

Noting that Egypt is one of the driest countries on the planet, the minister stressed: “We are completely dependent on the Nile River, as 95 percent of Egyptian lands are desert.”

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