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Thu, 23 Jan 2020 08:22 GMT

Russia Expresses Its Readiness to Act as a Mediator in GERD Crisis Between Egypt and Ethiopia


7Dnews London

Thu, 24 Oct 2019 19:03 GMT

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has revealed that he has received offers of mediation between his country and Egypt in the file of the GERD (Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam) crisis.

He said in remarks at the end of the African-Russian summit held in the Russian city of Sochi, "There are countries that have offered to intervene in this regard, including Russia, and if this intervention is political, there is no problem. Although technically, the tripartite committee between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia will continue its consultations to reach a solution."

On Thursday October 24th, Abiy Ahmed met on the sidelines of the summit with President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. After the meeting Abiy Ahmed said, "I had a fruitful dialogue with Egyptian President Sisi. We agreed that what creates problems is the media. I reached an understanding with President Sisi that there is a strong intention between officials and the two nations to work to each other’s benefit."

Recently, Russia expressed its readiness to act as a mediator between Egypt and Ethiopia over the construction of the GERD (Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam) on the Nile, according to the Russian envoy to the Middle East Mikhail Bogdanov who conveyed this readiness to journalists in Sochi on Wednesday.

His statements came in the wake of the failure of a recent tripartite meeting between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan on GERD. In response to that failure, Cairo called for the participation of an international intercessor to mediate between the three countries, to bring the views closer and to help reach a fair and balanced agreement that preserves the rights of the three countries without prejudice to the interests of any of them.

On the sidelines of the economic forum on Wednesday, Bogdanov said, “If they ask us, we are always ready. We have excellent relations with Ethiopia and Egypt, and of course we have discussed this issue more than once, and if our mediation is required, we are always ready.”

Since then, there have been reports of the World Bank or the United States entering as mediators, before Russia was recently introduced to mediate in the stalled negotiations.

On Monday, Ethiopia's Nobel Peace Prize-winning Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said that his country did not have any intentions of harming the people and governments of the Sudan and Egypt in regard to the case of GERD (Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam).

‏Abiy Ahmed made this statement in response to a question posed by members of the Ethiopian Parliament on Egypt's current position on the dam.

‏“Ethiopia is building the dam, not to harm others, but to take advantage of its resources. The construction of the dam does not cause any significant harm to the downstream countries,” Abiy Ahmed explained.

‏Abiy Ahmed added that his country’s main current focus is to finalise the construction of GERD according to the settled schedule, the official Ethiopian News Agency (ENA) reported.

Egypt announced earlier this month that GERD talks had collapsed.

‏ On October 23rd-24th, the Russian city of Sochi hosted the first Russia-Africa summit, co-chaired by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi of the African Union and Russian President Vladimir Putin, in the presence of a number of African leaders and major African organisations. The summit witnessed the presence of more than 40 African country leaders.

The $5 billion dam in dispute, which is considered the largest in Africa, has completed about 70 % of the construction of its facilities. The dam is expected to give Ethiopia much-needed electricity.

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