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Sudan: USA and EU keen to mediate on Ethiopian dam deadlock

March 30 - 2021 KHARTOUM
US envoy Donald Booth and EU envoy Robert Van Dool met with the Chairman of the Transitional Sovereignty Council, Lt Gen Abdelfattah El Burhan,at his office at the Republican Palace on Monday (SUNA)
US envoy Donald Booth and EU envoy Robert Van Dool met with the Chairman of the Transitional Sovereignty Council, Lt Gen Abdelfattah El Burhan,at his office at the Republican Palace on Monday (SUNA)

The EU and the USA have both affirmed their willingness to mediate in the negotiations on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (SERD), between Ethiopia, Egypt, and Sudan, which have reached a stalemate. US envoy Donald Booth, and EU envoy Robert Van Dool, reiterated their readiness to mediate in the GERD issue during a joint meeting with the Chairman of the Transitional Sovereignty Council, Lt Gen Abdelfattah El Burhan, at his office at the Republican Palace on Monday.

Both envoys affirmed their belief in the need to reach a diplomatic solution to the dispute over the dam, using an approach that satisfies all three parties, which guarantees Ethiopia’s ability to generate electricity, ensures the territorial integrity of Sudan and the safety of its dams, and guarantees the water rights of Egypt.

EU envoy Van Dool reaffirmed the EU readiness to support the economic reforms taking place in Sudan and to contribute to implementation of Sudan’s Samarat Family Support Programme* for poor families.

Both envoys congratulated El Burhan on the historic signing of the Declaration of Principles (DOP) between the Sudanese transitional government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North rebel movement under the leadership of Abdelaziz El Hilu (SPLM-N El Hilu) on Sunday, praising a ‘breakthrough’ that that would pave the way for achieving a comprehensive peace in Sudan.

The meeting discussed the peace process in Sudan, the differences between Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia over the Renaissance Dam and the developments on Sudan’s eastern borders with Ethiopia.

El Burhan underlined Sudan’s commitment to peaceful and diplomatic solutions

In this regard, he pointed out that the opening of the armed forces in the Fashaqa region took place inside the Sudanese territories, in accordance with the 1902 Agreement and what was confirmed by the subsequent understandings with the Ethiopian side.

GERD

Last week, Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok wrote a letter to the African Union, the United Nations, the European Union, and the USA to request formation of a ‘quartet committee’ to mediate in the negotiations of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). The US State Dept has already responded that the USA will continue to support efforts to resolve the disagreement on the GERD and encourage the resumption of a productive dialogue.

Hamdok’s letter of March 13 follows an agreement reached in Cairo earlier this month between Hamdok and Egyptian President Abdelfattah El Sisi, to continue their efforts to communicate with international parties to “expand the umbrella of negotiations on the GERD” and to implement the Sudanese proposal to have international parties join a quadripartite mediation, including the EU and the USA.

In the letter, Hamdok suggests changing the method used in the negotiations, which led to the failure to reach an agreement between the three parties during the past negotiation period, as well as establishing an approach based on the presence of the main international partners.

* The Sudan Family Support Programme (SFSP) is supported by several development partners through the Sudan Transition and Recovery Support (STARS) Multi-Donor Trust Fund, which includes Canada, European Union, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Netherlands, Norway, State and Peace Building Trust Fund, Sweden and United Kingdom. Together these donors are matching the support provided by the World Bank’s pre-arrears clearance grants to bring total support for the SFSP to $820 million.


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