Egypt and Sudan express their commitment to a binding agreement on the Nile dam in Ethiopia


A satellite image of the pantry shows a close-up view of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) and the Blue Nile River. Satellite Image © 2020 Maxar Technologies via REUTERS

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi and visiting President of the Sovereign Council of Sudan Abdel Fattah al-Burhan on Tuesday expressed the two countries’ commitment to a binding agreement on filling and functioning the controversial Renaissance dam of Greater Ethiopia GERD), the president told the office in a statement.

“The two leaders stressed that the water issue is a national security issue for their countries,” said president spokesman Bassam Rady, adding that they have reached a consensus on the controversial issues of the GERD.

Sisi also expressed full support for Sudan’s political leadership in shaping the future of their country which will help achieve regional peace and stability.

Al-Burhan’s visit comes hours before the resumption of trilateral African Union-mediated talks between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia on GERD, which have stalled for seven weeks.

The new talks come just days after US President Donald Trump blamed Ethiopia for the failure of previous GERD negotiations.

“It’s a very dangerous situation because Egypt won’t be able to live that way,” Trump told Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok in a phone call, saying Egypt could “end up blowing up the dam” .

Ethiopia later summoned the US ambassador for Trump’s remarks, seeing them as an incitement to war.

In early October, al-Sisi held talks in Cairo with his Kenyan counterpart Uhuru Kenyatta about the disputed dam, and later in mid-October he received a phone call from South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on the matter.

Ethiopia began building the GERD in 2011, while Egypt is concerned that the dam will affect its annual share of 55.5 billion cubic meters of Nile water. Sudan recently raised similar concerns about the US $ 4 billion dam.

In recent years, tripartite talks on the filling rules and functioning of the GERD, with a total capacity of 74 billion cubic meters, have been unsuccessful, including those hosted by Washington and recently the African Union.