The leaders of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan have met on the sidelines of the ongoing African Union Summit, as they continue to work towards resolving the impasse over Ethiopia’s Grand Renaissance Dam project (GERD).
Ethiopia’s Foreign Affairs ministry spokesperson tweeted updates from the deliberations of the three countries leaders, Egypt’s president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Sudan’s Omar Hassan al-Bashir and Ethiopian prime minister Hailermaria Desalegn, saying they were conducting discussions ‘on trilateral issues of mutual interest’.
Influential media portal, Addis Standard later tweeted a video of the Egyptian president reassuring journalists that relations between among the three countries were healthy.
‘‘Rest assured. Everything is going well. We are speaking as one nation, not three,’‘ the Egyptian president is quoted to have said after the meeting.
Relations have recently been strained by a failure to agree on the impact that Ethiopia’s GERD project might have on the water flowing in Egypt and Sudan.
Egypt has insisted that technical studies must be done to assess the impact and even asked that the World Bank be appointed as arbitrator, while Ethiopia insists that the project will not affect the water flow to its neighbours.
At the peak of the dispute, Sudan withdrew its ambassador in Cairo, following media reports that Egypt attempted to sideline Sudan from the talks.
Reporting on events from today’s meeting Egyptian media reported that Sis said the return of the Sudanese ambassador is ‘a foregone conclusion’ before urging media houses and journalists to safeguard the good relations in the Nile basin countries.
‘‘It is now your role to maintain good relations between countries, and not send messages that would confuse the public or offend others,’‘ Sisi reportedly said.
Sisi also assured the journalists that there is a high level committee with representatives of different sectors concerned with following up on the dam issue.