The head of Sudan’s Transitional Sovereign Council, Lt-General Abdel Fattah Burhan, and Egyptian President Abdul Fattah Sisi announced on Tuesday willingness to reach a binding agreement on the filling and operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).
The talks coincided with a virtual meeting held on the same day between Minister of Foreign Affairs and Irrigation of Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia, and chaired by South Africa’s Minister of International Cooperation, the current Chairperson of the African Union, Naledi Pandor, to review the resumption of negotiations on the dam.
The spokesman of the Egyptian Presidency, Ambassador Basam Radi, underlined that the Sisi-Burhan meeting focused on regional issues of common interest.
Burhan arrived in Egypt Tuesday on a one-day visit.
“The meeting reviewed the developments of the Renaissance Dam in light of the AU-sponsored tripartite negotiations between Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia,” Radi said.
“President Sisi has affirmed the Egyptian strategic stance towards Sudan’s security and stability, and Egypt’s keenness to continue cooperation and coordination with Sudan on all issues of mutual interest,” the spokesperson explained.
Last week, US President Donald Trump made surprising remarks in a telephone conversation with Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, saying, "I had a deal [on the dam] done for them, and then unfortunately, Ethiopia broke the deal which it should not have done.”
“It is a very dangerous situation because Egypt is not going to be able to live that way. They’ll end up blowing up that dam [...] I say it loud and clear, they’ll blow up that dam.”
A statement issued by the Ministry of Irrigation and Water Resources said that during talks with the Ethiopian and Egyptian ministers of Irrigation and Foreign Affairs, Sudan affirmed its adherence to negotiations as the sole means for reaching a satisfactory agreement on GERD.
The statement underlined that Sudan submitted a proposal to give a greater role to experts and observers in the negotiation process.
“The three countries affirmed to hold a follow up meeting called for by Sudan to report to the AU, within a week, on the means for achieving concrete progress in the suspended negotiations,” the statement said.
It emphasized that reaching a binding and satisfactory agreement needs strong political will by the leaders of the concerned countries.