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Thursday, 4 August 2022

UAE says GERD solution “in reach”, calls for return to African Union talks

UAE is the latest to urge a negotiated solution for the GERD crisis: The UAE’s Mission to the UN said in a statement yesterday that it believes that a settlement to the dispute over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) is “within reach” and called on Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan to return to talks mediated by the African Union (AU), which it said must play an “essential role.”

The UAE coming out in support for the AU-led process is big: Egypt has been resolutely opposed to continuing negotiations mediated by the AU since Ethiopia unilaterally embarked on the second filling of the dam last year. Together with Sudan, Cairo has called for new mediators to be brought in to help find an agreement, an idea dismissed by Ethiopia, which wants to continue with the AU-led process. Other global powers, including the US, EU and the UN Security Council, have also insisted that the three countries should continue with the AU.

Has Egypt changed its tune? “The UAE … welcomes the commitment of the three countries to the AU-led negotiations, and encourages them to continue negotiating in good faith,” the statement read. Egypt hasn’t publicly come out in favor of returning to AU-led negotiations, and a new round of talks has not been announced.

The UAE’s intervention comes amid a flare-up in tensions between Egypt and Ethiopia, provoked by Addis Ababa’s recent decision to continue filling the reservoir for the third year running. Egypt last week protested the move at the UN Security Council and accused Ethiopia of breaking international law.

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