Renaissance Dam, Failure of “Last Chance” Negotiations, Egypt is Escalating and Khartoum Moving

The final round of the Renaissance Dam negotiations, which Cairo described as the last opportunity, has ended without reaching an agreement, due to Ethiopia’s intransigence, according to the accusations that Cairo and Khartoum made to Addis Ababa. While the latter claimed that the two countries put forward items unrelated the negotiating agenda.

The negotiations that have been held in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, had been extended for an additional day based on the efforts of the host country,  the Congo, which holds the rotating presidency of the African Union. The Democratic Republic of the Congo had also invited the delegations to return to negotiation after a month, but no date has been announced yet for the resumption of negotiations.

Egyptian escalation

The Egyptian side has made it clear, according to the Egyptian Foreign Ministry statement that the round of talks in Kinshasa has ended without progress and without leading to an agreement on re-launching the negotiations. The Ministry was referring by that to the failure of the Kinshasa call, until then, regarding the resumption of negotiations.

The Egyptian statement has stated that the Cairo delegation participated with the intention of resuming negotiations, but Ethiopia was intransigent and refused to return. The matter that proves the absence of political will in Ethiopia, and its endeavor to procrastinate by being satisfied with a formal and useless negotiating mechanism. The Egyptian statement has stressed that Ethiopia not only had rejected all the proposals and alternatives put forward by Egypt and supported by Sudan to advance the negotiations, but had also rejected Sudan’s proposal supported by Cairo to form a quadruple alliance for mediation.

The Egyptian statement was followed, on Wednesday, by Sameh Shoukry’s statement, the Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs. The Egyptian Minister arrived in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum accompanied by the Sudanese delegation. “All the various propositions that have been discussed regarding the Renaissance Dam crisis have always been rejected by the Ethiopian side, to the extent of disavowing the procedures on which the negotiations were based from the beginning,” the Minister said strictly in his statement. “Egypt will take what it deems appropriate in the coming period to protect national water security, and to prevent harm to Egypt’s share of water,” Shoukry added.

Minister Shoukrydescribed any talk about the second filling of the Renaissance Dam unilaterally or the operation of the dam as an irresponsible act.

“Filling the Renaissance Dam unilaterally predicts dangerous developments that threaten the region, peace and international security, Egypt and Sudan will not allow any harm to occur to them,” he emphasized.

In the same context, media reports have stated that Shoukry is planning to hold talks with the Sudanese side in Khartoum. These talks will be taking place as a result of the failure of the negotiations because of the intransigent Ethiopian attitude and its rejection of many proposals made by the Egyptian and Sudanese sides during the talks.

“the water scarcity crisis is increasing in a way that threatens the future of peoples, especially with the insistence of some parties to establish huge projects to exploit international rivers in an ill-considered manner. Without taking into account the importance of preserving the safety and sustainability of international water resources,” Abdel Fattah el-Sisi the Egyptian President says, during his participation in a video conference organized by the African Development Bank.

It is noteworthy that the Egyptian President had said that no one could violate Egypt’s right to the Nile water, warning that it is a “red line” and Prejudicing it would have an impact on the stability of the entire region.

“No one can take a drop of water from Egypt’s waters. Whoever wants to try, let him try. There will be a state of instability in the entire region, And no one is far from our power,” El-Sisi says in statement on the sidelines of his visit to the Suez Canal.

Sudanese move ..

For her part, Maryam Al-Sadiq Al-Mahdi the Sudanese Minister of Foreign Affairs,  said in statements following the negotiations, “We came in search of a new approach to negotiation, and the second mobilization of the Renaissance Dam poses a threat for us.”

Al-Mahdi indicated that the Ethiopian position to impose a fait accompli violates international law and that the interest of the 250 million people living in the three countries must be taken into consideration. While Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, head of the Sudanese Sovereignty Council, demanded that his country have a role in the operation and management of the Renaissance Dam, because it affects the security of Sudan, as he described it.

In turn, the Sudanese Ministry of Irrigation said in a statement that the talks did not make progress due to Ethiopian intransigence. The ministry considered that this intransigence necessitates thinking about all possible options to protect Sudan’s rights in a way that is guaranteed by international law, as it puts it.

 “During the meeting, we stressed the danger of the unilateral measures, which would inflict heavy damage on Sudan,” The ministry says.

The ministry indicated that Ethiopia rejected all alternative options regarding granting a quadripartite mediation role to facilitate negotiations. Ethiopia insisted on negotiating with the same old approach, which it had adopted since June 2020, to no avail.

The Sudanese Minister of Foreign Affairs announced that her country’s government had submitted a request to the United Nations to remove Ethiopian soldiers from the UN mission, deployed in the Sudanese Abyei region, and replace them with soldiers of another nationality, in a move described as a response to Ethiopian intransigence regarding the Renaissance Dam.

“It is not reasonable that there will be Ethiopian forces in the strategic depth of Sudan at a time when Ethiopian forces are gathering on the eastern borders of Sudan,” the minister adds.

The Sudanese minister’s statements came hours after the failure of the Kinshasa negotiations on the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, which both Egypt and Sudan see as a threat to their water security.

The Minister also indicated that Ethiopia has many interests in Sudan, which it must work to preserve. Al-Mahdi also stressed at the same time not to prejudice the Ethiopian refugees in Sudan, who will always be welcomed and treated with dignity.

It is noteworthy that Maryam Al-Sadiq, the Sudanese Minister of Foreign Affairs, revealed earlier, about a disaster caused by the start of the filling operations of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam without an agreement. The minister pointed out that this catastrophe was about a week of thirst, lack of water for irrigation, the needs of livestock, homes and industry, especially in the capital, Khartoum.

The Sudanese Minister pointed out that the Ethiopian government tends to repeat that step again without reaching an agreement with the concerned countries, referring to both Sudan and Egypt. She stressed that her country had informed the Ethiopian side of all the serious damages of that step.

International chill

In a related context, Washington entered the line, as the US State Department revealed that an American delegation had traveled to the region to communicate with a number of partners on issues related to the Renaissance Dam. The ministry added that the delegation emphasized “Washington’s neutral approach” towards the file

The State Department said that Washington continues to support the cooperative and constructive efforts by Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan to reach an agreement on the Grand Renaissance Dam. It noted that the delegation had listened to all parties, including the Congolese presidency of the African Union, about how best the U.S. and the EU could support efforts to find a way forward.

In a press conference held by Stéphane Dujarric, spokesman for the Secretary-General of the United Nations, he called on the parties to continue cooperation and reach a compromise solution to settle the file.

“We, on our part, continue to urge the parties to continue making efforts to take concrete steps to reach an agreement,” The spokesman told reporters about the position of the Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, on the Kinshasa negotiations

Dujarric added that Tshisekedi’s initiative to hold negotiations is welcome, with the international organization reaffirming its readiness to support these efforts as acceptable to the parties.

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