Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia have been locked for almost a decade in inconclusive talks over the filing and operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on the Blue Nile, which broke ground in 2011.

Egypt sees the structure a threat to its water supply, while Sudan fears its own dams will be harmed if Ethiopia proceeds with filling the GERD before a deal is reached.

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“We reject the policy of imposing a fait accompli and extending control over the Blue Nile through unilateral measures without taking Sudan’s and Egypt’s interests into account,” Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said Saturday in a statement carried by Sudan’s state TV.

Addis Ababa, which said it reached its first-year filling target last year, has declared plans to go ahead with the second phase of filling regardless of whether a agreement is in place.

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Egypt and Sudan “have agreed to relaunch negotiations with quadripartite mediation that includes the African Union, the United Nations, the European Union and the US… to reach a deal before the flood season”, Sisi added, standing alongside Sudanese head of state General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan.

The visit to Khartoum, Sisi’s first since Islamist Bashir’s ouster in April 2019, comes amid efforts to bolster Sudanese-Egyptian ties and amid tensions between Sudan and Ethiopia over a disputed border region.

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His talks with Burhan, and separately with Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, also addressed maritime security in the Red Sea and the Sudan-Ethiopia border tensions, state TV reported.

Meanwhile this week, top Egyptian and Sudanese army officials signed a deal on military cooperation between the two countries, while Sudan’s Foreign Minister Mariam al-Mahdi discussed the GERD in Cairo with Sisi and other Egyptian officials, according to Egypt’s foreign ministry.

Alaraba news

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