Sudan rejects Ethiopian claims to prevent inclusion of South Africa in GERD negotiations

The Sudanese Foreign Ministry denied claims by Ethiopia that Khartoum and Cairo refused the inclusion of South Africa in the negotiations team for GERD during the meeting in Kinshasa.

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On Friday, the Sudanese Foreign Ministry released a statement denying claims by Addis Ababa that it, along with Egypt, refused to include South Africa in the negotiations team for talks on the highly-disputed Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) dispute in the latest round of discussions, under the framework of the African Union (AU), in Kinshasa, the capital of DR Congo.

Last week, a new round of talks led by the new Chairperson of the AU and President of DR Congo, Felix Tshisekedi, commenced after previous negotiations failed in January 2021. Ministerial and technical teams from the three countries participated in the latest negotiations, which were reported to have failed in producing a common ground between the Nile countries.

The declaration by Khartoum came in response to statements given by the Ethiopian Irrigation Minister on Wednesday. The statement by the Sudanese Foreign Ministry indicates that Addis Ababa was the culprit in the breakdown of the latest negotiations, as it rejected proposals given by the two downstream countries of the Nile on including the European Union, the United Nations, and the United States as mediators in the talks as well as in reaching an agreement within eight weeks in coordination with the Chairperson of the AU and international parties.

The Sudanese statement also holds that a proposal was tabled to involve South Africa in the negotiations to which Sudan and Egypt welcomed and approved the suggestion, thus denying the claim of the Ethiopian Irrigation Minister.

Following the failure of the Kinshasa talks, both Sudan and Egypt have expressed that all options are evaluated in order to produce a win-win solution to the 10-year-old dispute between the three countries. Most recently, on Wednesday, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry stated that the two downstream countries will go to the UN Security Council for a briefing on the latest developments in this regard.

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