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Algeria seeks to play facilitating role in GERD dispute

Algeria has offered Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan a facilitating role in order to reach an agreement on the filling and operation of the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

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Algeria has offered Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan a facilitating role in order to reach an agreement on the filling and operation of the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

On Saturday, Algerian Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra met with his Sudanese counterpart Mariam al-Mahdi, Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, and Head of the Sovereign Council Abdel Fattah al-Burhan in Khartoum after a visit to Addis Ababa. The Sovereign Council announced after his meeting with al-Burhan that the visiting Algerian top diplomat proposed a meeting between the leaders of the three riparian countries to discuss the GERD dispute.

Lamamra discussed his plan with Ethiopia’s prime minister, deputy prime minister, and foreign minister during his visit to Addis Ababa. In relation to the GERD filling or operating disagreement, Article 10 specifies that the three nations might seek mediation or report the subject to the heads of state or governments. “Sudan’s leadership welcomed the Algerian initiative calling for a direct meeting between the three countries to reach a solution to their differences over the Renaissance Dam,” al-Mahdi told reporters after the meeting. “The Algerian initiative is in line with Article (10) of the Declaration of Principles signed between the three countries in Khartoum on 23 March 2015,” the Sudanese minister further stressed.

On Saturday, Algeria’s top diplomat arrived in Cairo, where he would meet with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi on Sunday. Following his arrival in Cairo, he tweeted that he would see his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry on Saturday evening, and President el-Sisi and the Arab League Secretary-General on Sunday.

Sudan and Egypt seek a legally binding agreement on the GERD’s filling and operation, but Ethiopia rejects the accord, claiming it will prohibit future Blue Nile developments. Also, Ethiopia completed the second unilateral filling of the massive dam this month, although Sudan and Egypt claim Ethiopia failed to store the anticipated 13.5 billion cubic meters of water.

Felix Tshisekedi, the Congolese President and African Union Chairperson, is anticipated to summon the three countries to continue talks, but it is unclear when or how. Sudan and Egypt want the African Union to play a stronger role in a quadripartite mediation, but Ethiopia insists only the African Union can mediate the process.

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