AU urges Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan to reach peaceful outcome on grand Ethiopian renaissance dam disputes

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The African Union on Saturday urged Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan to reach a peaceful outcome over their disputes on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), and refrain from making statements that could make things worse.

The call was contained in a communique following the Extraordinary African Union (AU) Bureau of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government video-teleconference meeting on the issue earlier in the day.

The meeting was convened by the African Union Chairperson and President of South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa and attended by all the members of the Bureau, including President Felix Tshisekedi of the Democratic Republic of Congo, President Abdel Fattah al Sisi of the Arab Republic of Egypt,, President Uhuru Kenyatta of the Republic of Kenya, and President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita of the Republic of Mali.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, and Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok of the Republic of Sudan, were invited to participate in the meeting while Moussa Faki Mahamat the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC) also participated in the Meeting.

AU said the meeting was held following consultations undertaken by “President Ramaphosa, in his capacity as the Chairperson of the Union with the three Negotiating Parties concerning the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), namely, Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan.”

President Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa of the Republic of South Africa, and Chairperson of the African Union (AU) convened a video-teleconference Meeting of the African Union (AU) Extraordinary Bureau of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government, on 26 June 2020, to discuss developments pertaining to the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). 

All the Members of the Bureau participated in the video-teleconference Meeting as follows: 
• His Excellency, President Felix Tshisekedi of the Democratic Republic of Congo,
• His Excellency, President Abdel Fattah al Sisi of the Arab Republic of Egypt,
• His Excellency, President Uhuru Kenyatta of the Republic of Kenya,
• His Excellency, President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita of the Republic of Mali, 

His Excellency, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, and His Excellency, Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok of the Republic of Sudan, were invited to participate in the meeting. His Excellency, Moussa Faki Mahamat the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC)also participated in the Meeting.

The Meeting of the Bureau was held pursuant to consultations undertaken by His Excellency, President Ramaphosa, in his capacity as the Chairperson of the Union with the three Negotiating Parties concerning the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), namely, Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan. 

The Bureau of the Assembly noted that the three Negotiating Parties are Founding Members of the former Organisation of African Unity (OAU), and the African Union (AU), and have significantly contributed to the unity, integration and the development of the continent. They further noted the potential the GERD project possesses for Africa.

The Bureau of the Assembly received with appreciation a report from the Chairperson of the AUC, H.E. Moussa Faki Mahamat, which, inter alia noted that more than 90% of the issues in the Tripartite Negotiations between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan have already been resolved.

The Bureau of the Assembly was addressed by His Excellency, President Abdel Fattah al Sisi of the Arab Republic of Egypt; His Excellency, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmad of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia; and His Excellency, Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok of the Republic of Sudan, with regards to their respective positions pertaining to the GERD matter.

The Bureau of the Assembly expressed its deep appreciation for the positive and constructive approach displayed by the three Parties in finding a peaceful, negotiated settlement on all outstanding matters, and further emphasized the importance of a win-win outcome, in the spirit of solidarity and cooperation.

In this regard, the Bureau of the Assembly decided to lend renewed impetus to the Tripartite Negotiations and urged the three Parties to expeditiously work towards finding a mutually acceptable and amicable solution on the outstanding technical and legal issues in the negotiations process.

The Bureau of the Assembly welcomed the undertaking by the three Parties to refrain from making any statements, or taking any action that may jeopardize or complicate the AU-led process aimed at finding an acceptable solution on all outstanding matters.

The Bureau of the Assembly welcomed the commitment of the three Parties to an AU-led process. In this regard, the Bureau of the Assembly agreed to augment the Tripartite Committee dealing with the GERD issue consisting of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan with the participation of observers, namely South Africa in its capacity as Chairperson of the AU, Members of the Bureau of the AU, and experts from the Commission, with a view to addressing outstanding technical and legal issues. The augmented Committee will present its report to the Chairperson of the AU, H.E. President Ramaphosa within a week from the issuance of this Communique.

Accordingly the Bureau of the Assembly and participating Heads of State and Government request the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to take note of the fact that the AU is seized of this matter.

The Bureau of the Assembly and participating Heads of State and Government welcomed the intervention of H.E. President Ramaphosa and expressed their deep gratitude for his initiative to bring together the three Parties to the GERD in order to find a negotiated solution on outstanding matters.

The Bureau of the Assembly and the participating Heads of State and Government agreed to reconvene in two weeks from the date of issuance of this Communique to consider a report on the outcome of negotiations of the outstanding issues concerning the GERD matter.

Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba
Based in Washington, District of Columbia, United States of America, Simon leads a brilliant team of reporters, freelance journalists, analysts, researchers and contributors from around the world to run TODAY NEWS AFRICA as editor-in-chief. Simon Ateba's journalistic experience spans over 10 years and covers many beats, including business and investment, information technology, politics, diplomacy, human rights, science reporting and much more. Write him: simonateba@todaynewsafrica.com

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