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Sunday, February 5, 2023

We are determined to find an African solution to the Renaissance Dam crisis

On Wednesday, the Democratic Republic of the Congo expressed its intention to continue its efforts to find a way out of the Ethiopian “Renaissance Dam” crisis by African solutions, while Sudan announced its aspiration to resume negotiations “as soon as possible.”

This came in a statement by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Christophe Tondola, after his arrival in Khartoum, at the beginning of a tour that includes Cairo and Addis Ababa, according to the Sudanese News Agency.

He told Tondola that Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi (chairman of the current session of the African Union) is determined to continue his efforts to find a solution to the dam crisis, in fulfillment of the African Union’s slogan “African solutions to African problems.”

Egypt and Sudan exchange accusations with Ethiopia of being responsible for the failure of negotiations on the dam, sponsored by the African Union for months, within a negotiating process that began about 10 years ago, due to differences over its operation and filling.

He added that “his tour of the three countries (Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia) comes within the framework of consultation, touching positions, and continuing the negotiations that were held in Kinshasa.”

On April 6, a round of negotiations ended in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, without “progress” on the dam, according to statements by Khartoum and Cairo.

The Sudanese Foreign Minister, Maryam Al-Mahdi, confirmed that Sudan is participating in good faith in the rounds of negotiations with the aim of reaching an agreement that preserves the interests of the riparian and upstream countries.

She added that Sudan renews its call to accept the enhanced mediation process led by the African Union to help the parties reach an agreement that satisfies the three countries.

She stressed the need to change the ineffective negotiating methodology that characterized the previous rounds.

In press statements after the meeting, Al-Mahdi expressed “Sudan’s aspiration to resume the negotiating process under the leadership of the African Union as soon as possible.”

A Foreign Ministry statement said that the Congolese Minister handed Al-Mahdi a document prepared by a joint team of experts from the Congolese presidency and the African Union Commission, which includes a summary of the points agreed upon between the three countries and the points that are still in dispute.

The statement indicated that the Congolese Foreign Minister will deliver copies of them to Egypt and Ethiopia for the purpose of studying them and expressing their views and positions regarding them, so that experts can study them and work to try to bring the positions closer.

Prior to his arrival in Khartoum, he visited Lutendola, Ethiopia, and met his counterpart Demke Mekonnen.

Mekonnen expressed his country’s readiness to return to the dam negotiations with Egypt and Sudan “at any time”, according to a statement by the Ethiopian Foreign Ministry.

And on Wednesday, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted a presidential statement (15 countries) calling on the three countries to resume negotiations led by the African Union in order to reach a binding agreement.

Addis Ababa says that it does not aim to harm the interests of the downstream states of the Nile, Egypt and Sudan, but rather to generate electricity from the dam for development purposes.

While Cairo and Khartoum are calling for the conclusion of a legally binding tripartite agreement, to preserve their water facilities, and the continuation of the flow of their annual share of the Nile water.

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