Egypt, Sudan reject Ethiopia’s unilateral plan to start second GERD filling with or without deal: Sisi

Egypt, Sudan reject Ethiopia’s unilateral plan to start second GERD filling with or without deal: Sisi

‘This filling may threaten to cause serious damage to the interests of Egypt and Sudan,’ Sisi said in a press conference in Khartoum

Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi (L) meets with head of the Sudanese Transitional Sovereignty Council Abdel-Fattah Al-Burhan in Khartoum, 6 March 2021 (photo courtesy of the Presidency)

(ahram)—Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi reiterated on Saturday the Egyptian-Sudanese rejection of Ethiopia’s announcement to implement the second phase of filling the Ethiopian dam’s (GERD) reservoir even if a binding legal deal is not reached between the three countries.

 

“This procedure may threaten [to cause] serious damage to the interests of Egypt and Sudan,” El-Sisi said in a press conference in Khartoum with Abdel-Fattah Al-Burhan, the the head of the Sudanese Transitional Sovereignty Council.

During an official visit to Sudan, El-Sisi met with Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and Vice President of Sudan’s Sovereign Council Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo.

The president’s meetings included discussion of the GERD issue and other issues of cooperation.

During the press conference with Al-Burhan, El-Sisi cautioned that Egypt and Sudan – as the downstream countries – will be directly affected by the GERD.

“We affirmed the necessity to return to serious and effective negotiations, with the aim of reaching a just, balanced, and legally binding agreement on the filling and operating of the dam at the earliest opportunity and before the next flood season,” El-Sisi said during the conference.

The president stressed the legal agreement must take into consideration the interests of all three countries.

“Our visions coincided on the rejection of any approach that is based on endeavours to impose a fait accompli and extend control over the Blue Nile through unilateral procedures that do not take into account the interests and rights of the two downstream countries,” El-Sisi said.

The Egyptian president added that he discussed with Al-Burhan the means to relaunch the GERD negotiations through forming a quartet composed of the United Nations (UN), African Union (AU), European Union (EU) and United States to mediate talks.

“This is the mechanism proposed by Sudan and endorsed by Egypt and which seeks to support the efforts of President Felix Tshisekedi, the President of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and to maximise the chances of success of the negotiations’ path,” the president added.

“We affirmed our full confidence in his excellency [Tshisekedi] ability to manage and achieve a breakthrough in these negotiations in order to reach the desired agreement,” El-Sisi said.

Head of the Sudanese Transitional Sovereignty Council Abdel-Fattah Al-Burhan receives Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi in Khartoum, 6 March 2021 (photo courtesy of the Presidency)

During the meeting with Hamdok, the president urged intensifying Egyptian-Sudanese efforts during the coming period with the aim of reaching a binding agreement on GERD, Presidential Spokesman Bassam Rady said.

El-Sisi and Hamdok agreed on the importance of enhancing cooperation between the Nile Basin countries with the aim of achieving sustainable use of the Nile’s water resources, in a way that helps achieve the common interests of the people of the three states and avoid any harm to any one country.

Comprehensive peace deal

During the press conference with Al-Burhan, the Egyptian president congratulated Sudan on the signing of the comprehensive peace agreement in the country, calling it a “historic achievement.”

“[The agreement] was achieved after major efforts that were crowned in success as a result of sincerity from all Sudanese parties and their keenness to take the dear Sudanese nation to a new era of peace, development and prosperity that includes all people of Sudan,” the president said.

“I would like to affirm to you that Egypt would remain with you, in heart and soul, supporting your efforts for [achieving] development, stability and prosperity to the brotherly Sudanese people,” the president added.

In late 2020, Sudan’s transitional government and the Sudan Revolutionary Front signed the comprehensive peace agreement to end decades of conflict in Sudan.
Development cooperation

During the meeting with Hamdok, El-Sisi also affirmed Egypt’s keenness to boost bilateral cooperation with Sudan in various fields, including the implementation of electricity and rail linkage projects.

The president stressed Egypt’s keenness to boost trade and economic relations between the two countries and to create an appropriate environment for the establishment of joint developmental projects in manufacturing and agriculture.

El-Sisi also stressed the need to activate the joint technical committees and implement the MoUs and protocols of bilateral cooperation signed by the two countries.

Meanwhile, Hamdok affirmed Sudan’s keenness to create the required atmosphere for cooperation with Egypt in various strategic, development fields.

The Sudanese prime minister also affirmed that his country relies on the Egyptian role in supporting the ongoing Sudanese efforts to cancel or restructure Sudan’s foreign debts.

Head of the Sudanese Transitional Sovereignty Council Abdel-Fattah Al-Burhan receives Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi in Khartoum, 6 March 2021 (photo courtesy of the Presidency)

Issues of mutual concern

During the press conference with Al-Burhan, the Egyptian president said he discussed with the Sudanese leader regional and international issues of mutual concern, within the framework of bolstering the national security of both countries.

The president said these discussions aimed at unifying the efforts of the two countries “to achieve stability on the Arabic and African arenas.”

“I would like, in the end, to take this important occasion to express my full confidence that the next stage of joint work and cooperation between our two countries will continue in various fields, guided by common vision, clear determination, solid political will and sincere efforts by Cairo and Khartoum,” the president said.

Meanwhile, Al-Burhan thanked the Egyptian president for accepting the invitation to visit Sudan, saying the that Khartoum needs support during the current transitional period.

“The Sudanese state is now going through a transition phase that is facing many difficulties … a transition that requires concerted efforts and needs the support of friends and brothers,” Al-Burhan said duringthe press conference.

“This visit represents real support for Sudan and for the revolution as well as the people of Sudan,” Al-Burhan added.