Egypt and Sudan have reportedly agreed to set a 15 April deadline to reach a binding agreement with Addis Ababa on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) covering the rules for filling and operating the dam, Al Arabiya reports. The decision came during President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s visit to Khartoum — his first since the ouster of Omar Al Bashir in 2019 — in which he stressed the importance of returning to the negotiating table before the next flooding season. The president also reiterated the importance of Egypt and Sudan’s coordination over the issue during meetings with the head of Sudan’s Sovereignty Council, Abdel Fattah Al Burhan and Sudanese deputy head of state Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo. Reuters also had the story.
El Sisi isn’t the only one pushing for real negotiations: Egypt is calling for a “serious and effective” negotiation process that is led by the African Union (AU) and engages foreign partners to reach an agreement on the dam before Ethiopia starts its planned second filling in the summer, Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry told UN Secretary General António Guterres in a phone call on Friday, according to a statement. Two days earlier, Ethiopia rejected Egypt and Sudan’s calls to bring more mediators into the fold, saying that doing so could undermine the AU’s efforts to find a resolution to the impasse.