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Russia says African Union is the right place to resolve GERD Dispute

Russia supports the “African Solution to African Problem” approach in resolving disputes over GERD. “African Union is the right place to solve it,” Mr. Lavrov said.

Russia _ Egypt _ GERD _ Nile
Mr. Sergey Lavrov meeting with Egyptian Foreign Affairs Minister Sameh Shoukry in Cairo on Monday April 12, 2021 (Photo credit : Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia)

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Foreign Affairs Minister for the Russian Federation, Sergey Lavrov, on Monday met his Egyptian counterpart, Sameh Shoukry , in Cairo.  They discussed a range of issues including the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). 

During a presser after their meeting, Mr. Lavrov was asked regarding the dispute between Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. 

“The Renaissance Dam is a big problem. In 2019, you were part of the technical review team. Does Russia have a vision for how to resolve this issue in order to support the three states and to sign an agreement given that the most recent talks failed?” is the question posed to the Russian Foreign Minister. The question is translated from Arabic, as indicated in The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation update which was published on April 12. 

He answered “This question has long been raised by our Egyptian friends. We are very much interested in reaching a settlement. The only way to do so is to have all three stakeholder states work together. All others must facilitate this process. At some point, our leaders came with an offer of a technical review including, primarily, images from outer space and water-and-energy expert analysis, to the countries that are parties to this dispute. The offer was passed on. We are not claiming other roles. We were not asked to be mediators. The US, the EU, the UN and the African Union (AU) were invited to act as mediators. I believe this is a crucial matter, because all three participants of the process are represented in the AU. Also, the AU is the right place to showcase the tradition of African countries solving African problems. In this case and all other cases as well, including the ongoing conflicts in Africa, we are strong proponents of the principle of African solutions to African problems” 

Clearly, the Russian position is pro-mediation – one that is facilitated by the African Union. The logic for Russia is simple : parties to the GERD dispute are represented in the African Union. 

During the last round of talk between the three countries, which took place in Kinshasa earlier this month, Egypt and Sudan proposed elevating the observer role of the United States and the European Union in a way to deliberate and facilitate the process which Ethiopia declined to accept. 

Egypt has been threatening a military measure against Ethiopia. This week, Ethiopia offered Egypt and Sudan data sharing on the second filling of the dam, scheduled to happen in the rainy months of July and August, but the two countries rejected the offer saying they “need a binding agreement before the second phase of GERD filling. 

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