Foreign Ministers of Egypt and Sudan on Tuesday warned against any unilateral move by Ethiopia in filling the controversial Nile River dam and urged more outside support to revive negotiations, reported Africa News.
During a joint news conference in Cairo on Tuesday, the foreign ministers of Sudan and Egypt discussed bilateral cooperation and regarding the urgency of reaching a legal agreement on the filling and operating of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on the Nile River that would meet interests of the three countries.
The two ministers voiced optimism about restarting the talks, but also warned of the result if an equitable and legally binding agreement wasn’t reached.
Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said talks and unilateral action with regard to the dam can’t occur simultaneously.
“There can be no endless negotiations or negotiations to come, with one side continuing to take unilateral measures. Otherwise, the matter becomes a mess and leads to nothing but imposing the will on two parties and exposing their people to existential risks,” Shoukry said.
His Sudanese counterpart, Mariam al-Mahdi, warned that the dispute over the dam can’t be allowed to escalate and take the region in the wrong direction. She said that a time limit must be set for any negotiations.
“We affirm the need for the African Union organization to lead a four-way initiative in order to be able to resume negotiations, but this return cannot be expected to last indefinitely,” the Sudanese minister said.
She added that the second stage of filling the dam jeopardizes the welfare of 20 million Sudanese, threatening them with thirst.
Ethiopia began constructing the GERD in 2011. Egypt is concerned that the dam might affect its 55.5-billion-cubic-meter annual share of the Nile water. Sudan has recently been raising similar concerns over the dam.
Over the past few years, tripartite talks on the rules of filling and operating the GERD have been unsuccessful.