African Union intervenes to diffuse Egypt – Ethiopia tensions
Egypt and Ethiopia, the two main worrying parties in the dispute over the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam GERD, have agreed to return to the negotiating table following Egypt’s failure to use bully tactics.
The Chairman of the African Union who is also the Chairman of the African Union Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa, President of the Republic of South Africa, announced that Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan had accepted to return to the Trilateral Negotiations starting today October 27, 2020.
The AU’s apparent peace-seeking attempt comes hot on the heals of inflammatory remarks made by US president Donald Trump in which he said Egypt wants to bomb Ethiopia’s biggest hydro power dam that is still under construction.
A statement by AU Chairman’s office said: “Following extensive consultations with the Heads of State of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) Negotiation Parties – His Excellency President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi of the Arab Republic of Egypt, 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 – the Trilateral Negotiations on the GERD will resume on Tuesday, 27 October 2020, following a seven-week break.”
It added that: “The President Ramaphosa welcomes the commitment by the Parties to pursue negotiations guided by the spirit of cooperation, goodwill and compromise with a view to reaching a mutually acceptable agreement.
Ramaphosa added saying: “The resumption of the Trilateral Negotiations on the GERD under the auspices of the African Union is indicative of the strong political will and commitment by the leadership of the three Parties involved in the negotiations to the peaceful and amicable resolution of the GERD matter. It is a reaffirmation of the confidence that the Parties have in an African-led negotiations process, in line with the Pan-African maxim of African solutions to African problems, one of the cornerstones of the African Union”.
Ramaphosa assured the three Negotiating Parties of the African Union’s unremitting support and cooperation, and expressed confidence that the Parties will reach agreement on the remaining issues, including those related to the technical and legal aspects of the negotiations.
President Ramaphosa concluded, “Without any doubt, the successful conclusion of the GERD negotiations will enhance and accelerate regional integration, while boosting cooperation and sustainable development in the region, for the benefit of Africa as a whole”.
Egypt had abandoned the AU mediation efforts in favour of the US’s role. But Ethiopia refused to accept America’s conditional mediation saying it favoured Egypt alone and disregarded Ethiopia’s interests and rights.