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June 17, 2021
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Sudan, Ethiopia diverge on negotiation process over GERD, border issue

  • Sudan prefers involvement of actors outside of Africa in GERD negotiation to which Ethiopia and Egypt are a part 
  • Ethiopia urges the international community to pressure Sudan to stop violating international law 
Dina Mufti, spokesperson of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia (Photo : MFAE)

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Sudan and Ethiopia continue to have differences over ways of continuing the negotiation over the operation and filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.

Ethiopia seeks to pursue the African Union led negotiation – if it happens the DRC will be leading the process. The spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dina Mufti, said on Tuesday that ongoing AU-led  process “will provide win-win solutions to the negotiating parties” 

And he expressed Ethiopia’s hope that it will commence “soon.” 

Ethiopia’s position is that “the African Union-led negotiation should be finalized before any other option is pursued to solve outstanding issues among the tripartite regarding the GERD. ” 

On the other hand, Sudan is urging Ethiopia to accept a proposal for a negotiation process outside the African Union. Sudan, as reported before, has invited the United States, European Union and the United Nations to mediate the negotiation between Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt. African Union is also invited to be a part. 

Yasir Abbas, Sudanese Minister of Irrigation, said, “We believe that international experiences under the leadership of the African Union will provide a political impetus to the stalled negotiations between the three countries (…) despite several rounds of talks” as quoted by the Sudan Tribune. 

Sudan’s pursuit of negotiation with additional mediators came after Prime Minister Abedella Hamdok visited Cairo last week following a military agreement with Egypt. 

Sudan has disclosed that the GERD second phase of filling will constitute a “national security concern” if it happens without coordination between Egypt and Sudan. 

Ethiopia has scheduled the second phase to happen during the rainy months of July and August of this year. And Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed reiterated it during his appearance before the House of People’s Representative on Tuesday this week. 

Sudan and Ethiopia have developed another controversial matter in addition to GERD. 

Ethio-Sudan  Border Issue 

Sudan occupied Ethiopian territories in early November 2020 as the Ethiopian Army withdrew from the border between the two countries for deployment in the Tigray region of  Ethiopia where there was full scale military operation against 250,000 Tigray people’s Liberation Front which the Ethiopian government called “law enforcement operation.” 

Let. General Al Burhan led Sudanese government contested that the areas it controlled in November 2020 belong to Sudan. It was just under Ethiopian occupation for more than 25 years. 

Ethiopia on Tuesday urged the international community to pressure Sudan to respect international law and end its occupation of Ethiopian territories. 

South Sudan has been attempting to mediate the two countries. However, Ethiopia wants Sudan to withdraw from the border before any talks on the border issue. Dina Mufti retreated, during his weekly briefing on Tuesday,  Ethiopia’s stand in that regard. 

Sudanese leader Al Burhan on his part said last week that his country will not enter into border talk unless Ethiopia “ends occupation of Sudanese territories.” 

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