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Decline of confidence in Ethiopia requires quartet mediation: Sudan’ FM

Sudan's FM Mariam al-Mahdi poses with the Niger President Mohamed Bazoum on 1 June 2021 (ST photo)June 1, 2021 (KHARTOUM) - The Sudanese Foreign Minister informed the Niger President of her country’s adherence to the international community’s participation in the GERD negotiations, pointing to the collapse of confidence in the Ethiopian government.

Mariam al-Mahdi held talks in Niamey, ending a tour of West African countries that she started on May 27, including Ghana, Senegal and Nigeria, to explain Sudan’s negotiating position on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

Al-Mahdi told Niger’s President Mohamed Bazoum that Sudan was seriously affected by the first filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, "which caused a rift in the wall of confidence," reads a statement issued by the minister after the meeting.

She pointed out that this situation requires "reaching an agreement under the auspices of the African Union, with the participation of international partners as guarantors of the agreement."

Ethiopia refuses to sign a binding agreement on the GERD filling and operation claiming that it would prevent the upstream country from using the Blue Nile water or establishing development projects.

Instead, Addis Ababa proposed to sign a guideline protocol or to include a water-sharing deal in the agreement, breaching the 2015 declaration of principles.

To break the deadlock, Khartoum proposed to establish a mediation headed by the African Union and involving the European Union, the United Nations and the United States.

According to the statement, the Sudanese top diplomat extensively briefed the President of Niger about the GERD issue and Ethiopia’s

The statement said that the minister explained in detail to the President of Niger the issue of the Renaissance Dam, recent developments, and Ethiopia’s stubbornness on the second filling of the dam lake without a binding legal agreement with the downstream countries governing filling and operation processes.

Sudan says unilateral filling of the GERD’s reservoir threatens power generation from its two dams on the Blue Nile, the safety of Roseires Dam and of 20 million Sudanese.

President Bazoum, according to the statement, expressed his understanding of the Sudanese position, pointing to the experience of the Niger River which is the third-longest river in Africa after the Nile and Congo rivers.

The transboundary river is managed by the Niger Basin Authority a multilateral body involving Benin; Guinea; Mali; Niger; Nigeria.