AU chairperson welcomes resumption of GERD talks

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The African Union chairperson has welcomed the resumption of negotiations between Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan over the Grand Renaissance Ethiopian Dam (GERD), which Addis Ababa is building on its share of the River Nile.

Cyril Ramaphosa, who is also the president of South Africa, said the resumption of talks was a clear commitment to peace by the three nations.

“The resumed Trilateral Negotiations is an indication of the commitment of all Parties to the GERD to dialogue as a means toward a peaceful, amicable, and durable solution taking into consideration all the dimensions of the GERD matter. By this act, the Parties have demonstrated their commitment to an African-led process in the spirit of African solution to African problems,” said President Ramaphosa.

Ethiopia hopes the massive hydroelectric dam will make it Africa’s largest electricity exporter, but Cairo has long expressed fears that building the $5 billion dam will threaten water supplies that have fed Egypt’s agriculture and economy for thousands of years.

Sudan, which also largely depends on the Nile for water, has been caught between the competing interests.

The three countries have been locked in months of negotiations with little success. One of the biggest points of dispute revolves around the timeframe for filling up the dam.

The AU chairperson on Monday urged the three nations to ensure they settle for an amicable solution to end the dispute.

“I wish to further implore the Parties to proceed along this path in order to reach an agreement on all outstanding issues,” President Ramaphosa said.

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