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Wednesday, 3 March 2021

Last Night’s Talk Shows on 3 March 2021

Negotiations over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam were in the limelight on last night’s talk shows, after Egypt and Sudan renewed yesterday a warning against Ethiopia unilaterally filling the dam’s reservoir. The joint statement from Cairo and Khartoum followed a meeting between President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, and Sudanese Foreign Minister Mariam Al-Mahdi. Among those with coverage: Kelma Akhira’s Lamees El Hadidi (watch, runtime: 2:21), Al Hayah Al Youm’s Mohamed Sherdy (watch, runtime: 2:56), and Masaa DMC’s Ramy Radwan (watch, runtime: 2:30).

The talking heads’ commentary centered largely on the need for international mediation. Egypt reiterated yesterday its backing for a Sudanese proposal to set up an international quartet to mediate the negotiations, which would include the African Union, EU, US, and United Nations. The impasse will likely only be resolved once the EU and US intervene, since they each have a vested interest in maintaining peace and stability in the Horn of Africa and among Nile Basin countries. They are also likely the only international players who have leverage to push things along, African Affairs expert at Al Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies Amani El Tawil told Lamees (watch, runtime: 5:36). Ala Mas’ouleety’s Ahmed Moussa suggested much of the same, saying that the African Union alone was unable to push any progress (watch, runtime: 3:46).

Is the road ahead going to look like the past unsuccessful attempts? Maybe not, suggests El Tawil, who points to Egypt and Sudan now putting up a united front, whereas they previously may have had different positions. El Tawil points to Ethiopia’s first filling of the dam last year, which caused mass devastation in Sudan and brought to light the dam’s destructive potential for Khartoum. This united position between Egypt and Sudan could be the key source of pressure for Ethiopia to agree to mediation and stop dragging its feet on the talks, Egyptian Center for Strategic Studies Khaled Okasha told Lamees (watch, runtime: 7:35). El Tawil also noted that Egypt and Sudan signing military cooperation agreements yesterday flashed some of the two countries’ hard power, which could help nudge things along.

Amendments to the Personal Status Act were the topic of a roundtable discussion (or screaming match, to be completely honest) Ala Mas’ouleety’s Ahmed Moussa hosted. It appears that nobody is happy with the amendments, with one lawyer arguing that they would severely undermine women’s rights (watch, runtime: 4:44). Another lawyer claimed that men would be the ones negatively affected because of the expanded grounds for divorce and laundry list of marital crimes that could land a husband in prison (watch: runtime: 8:18).

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