Ethiopia on Wednesday accused Egypt and Sudan of working to undermine the African Union (AU)-led process of trilateral negotiations on the rules and guidelines for the filling and operation of the $5-billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).
Ethiopian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ambassador Dina Mufti in a weekly press briefing said Sudan and Egypt have been on the move to take the negotiations out of the hands of the Pan-African body.
On Tuesday, Sudan raised the issue at the UN Security Council (UNSC) of the GERD’s second-year filling that Ethiopia planned to execute this coming July-August, the main rainy season. Sudan told the UNSC that the planned filling poses a security threat.
“Sudan has no plausible issue left, but only furthering a third-party agenda,” Dina said, without calling names. “Sudan is working to make sure that the African Union process would fail.”
Asked what was wrong for Egypt and Sudan to seek expanded mediation to include the US, EU, and World Bank, the spokesperson posed a question: “What is wrong in the African Union-led process?”
He said the African Union and the UN have a platform where they cooperate and share information about African issues and other issues of interest.
“Ethiopia has submitted a letter to the United Nations Security Council, demanded it to put pressure on Egypt and Sudan to come back to the AU-led process,” he said.
The Africa-led mediation has been going on since last June after talks sponsored by former US President Donald Trump failed to bring about any results in bridging differences expressed by the three countries.
“In the letter, Ethiopia proposed confidence-building measures,” he said.
Released ‘soldiers’ only farmers
Meanwhile, he said Sudanese claims that it released 61 captured soldiers is false. “In fact, 59 of them are farmers and only two are members of the local militia.”
Last week, Sudan said it released 61 Ethiopian soldiers it captured earlier by way of demonstrating “commitment for good neighborliness.”
Sudan, by circulating that “fake” news wanted to “make it seem that there was an active military engagement at the border areas. There is no active military engagement at present between Ethiopia and Sudan. But Sudanese forces remained in occupation of Ethiopian territories they captured by force for months now,” Dina said.
“Of the released, 59 are farmers taken by Sudanese forces from the border areas and only two are members of the local militia,” he added.