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Sudan’s al-Mahdi African Union Faki discuss GERD issue

Mariam al-Mahdi meets Moussa Faki on 12 June 2021 (ST photo)June 12, 2021 (KHARTOUM) - Foreign Minister Mariam al-Mahdi and the visiting Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission Saturday discussed the dispute over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.

The Sudanese Foreign Ministry stated that the meeting agreed on the need to reach a comprehensive and satisfactory solution for all the riparian countries.

Al-Mahdi for its part, "reiterated that Sudan’s position calling for a legally binding agreement on the filling and operation, as they are directly linked to the country’s vital interests," said the statement.

For his part, the Chairperson of the Commission indicated the African Union’s readiness to provide any possible assistance to facilitate reaching an agreement between the parties.

Sudanese officials say that the giant dam, which is built 15 km from the border, is a threat to the downstream country if no binding agreement is reached.

They point that it would negatively affect both the environment and the livelihoods of Sudanese.

Ethiopia plans to start the second phase of the GERD reservoir filing next July.

Sudan and Egypt top diplomats agreed on 9 June to coordinate efforts to push Ethiopia to negotiate “seriously” on an agreement on the GERD filling and operating.

Ethiopia refuses the binding agreement saying it aims to prevent future use of water and propose a guideline that it can unilaterally amend.

Addis Ababa plans to start the second filling of the GERD’s reservoir next July.