Egypt Disagrees With Enhanced Role for AU Experts in GERD Talks: Ethiopia

07/11/2020

Egypt has disapproved of the enhanced role by African Union (AU) experts in talks over the disputed Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) with Ethiopia and Sudan, a spokesman for the Ethiopian foreign affairs ministry said. 

In press statements by state-run Ethiopian News Agency (ENA), foreign ministry spokesman Dina Mufti said on Friday that there was a disagreement from Egypt on the role of AU experts in the revised talks, while Khartoum and Addis Ababa agreed to elevated roles for the experts. 

"Despite the failure of Egypt to agree on the role of the African experts," Mufti said, "we are optimistic that the negotiations will continue as Ethiopia has a firm stand to solve Africa's problems by Africans."

Egypt said on Wednesday that the lack of consensus on the methodology for resuming negations in the near future between the three countries was obvious in the AU-sponsored virtual talks. 

The three countries agreed on submitting a report to South Africa, the current head of the AU, on the progress made in recent talks that began on October 27, as well as the African Union summit in July.

Following the meetings, Sudan said that the recent three-way talks did not make any tangible progress and reaffirmed its stance on refusing to return to the negotiations using the previous methodology that did not lead to any progress.

Sudan submitted a proposal to the AU which gives the latter's experts a bigger role in an attempt to bring the different parties' viewpoints closer.

Ethiopia has upheld Sudan's proposal to increase the role of AU experts. However, the Egyptians rejected the proposal and wanted to pursue negotiations via the previous methods, according to Sudanese officials.