Jan 21, 2021
CAIRO — The Sudan News Agency (SUNA) reported Jan. 13 that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is searching for an initiative and mediation to converge the views of Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia with the goal to interrupt the impasse within the negotiations on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).
According to SUNA, an Emirati Foreign Ministry delegation visited Khartoum Jan. 12 the place it met with officers from the Sudanese ministries of overseas affairs, and irrigation and water assets. The Sudanese officers briefed the Emirati delegation about Sudan’s place within the GERD file. A well-informed supply cited by SUNA mentioned the Emirati initiative didn’t stumble upon a Sudanese request.
The UAE has but to formally touch upon the report, whereas Emirati media have remained radio silent.
A number of days earlier, on Jan. 10, Khartoum introduced the failure to reach a binding and authorized settlement on the filling and operation of the dam throughout the newest spherical of GERD negotiations between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan, sponsored by the African Union (AU). “We cannot continue this vicious cycle of circular talks indefinitely,” Sudanese Irrigation Minister Yasir Abbas mentioned in an announcement, calling for a change within the negotiations’ mechanism.
In one other assertion launched Jan. 11, Abbas mentioned that his nation requested that the AU specialists play a better position to facilitate negotiations and bridge the hole between the disputed events. A day earlier, Egypt, together with Ethiopia, had expressed reservations on the Sudanese proposal to broaden the position of AU specialists.
Observers and specialists on the Nile water file who spoke to Al-Monitor consider that the UAE move could result in understandings between the three international locations, because the UAE enjoys good relations with all three events.
Tarek Fahmy, a professor of political sciences on the American University of Cairo, informed Al-Monitor over the cellphone, “The Emirati move comes at a critical time amid the failure of the three parties [Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan] to reach a binding agreement during the last meeting. This failure indicates that the negotiations are part of a vicious circle and that the negotiations management through the AU has failed.”
According to Fahmy, the UAE initiative can be “an attempt to end the current border dispute between Sudan and Ethiopia, which threatens to spill into a military conflict that will destabilize the Nile Basin countries, and eventually Egypt.”
Sudan and Ethiopia are at the moment engaged in a border dispute in Al-Fashqa area. On Jan. 14, Khartoum banned flights over the disputed border space claiming an Ethiopian army plane entered its airspace in what it described as “a dangerous escalation.”
On Jan. 13, the UAE known as on each Sudan and Ethiopia to keep away from additional escalation and harassed “the importance of their key and active roles in the stability and prosperity of Africa and the region.”
The Emirati Al-Watan newspaper wrote in its editorial piece Jan. 15, “Any border disputes, particularly if tainted with violence, will consist of a stumbling block to any potential agreement [in the GERD issue].”
Fahmy famous, “It is the first time that the UAE has taken serious action in this dossier, which is a positive move since the Gulf country is well appreciated and well respected by the three sides. Also, the UAE has major investments in the Nile Basin and the Horn of Africa, which explains its keenness to maintain stability in the region.”
He believes that “the UAE may use its investments as a card to pressure Addis Ababa to yield to serious negotiations. Joining this dossier delivers a clear message that the UAE supports the Egyptian administration’s position in the GERD dossier. That is another political dimension of the cooperation between the two countries.”
Anadolu New Agency mentioned in a Dec. 2 report that the UAE has invested in additional than 90 initiatives in Ethiopia within the agriculture, trade, actual property, development, drilling, mining, well being and hospitality sectors.
Abbas Sharaki, head of the pure assets division at Cairo University’s Institute of African Studies and Research, informed Al-Monitor through cellphone, “The UAE’s role is of tantamount importance particularly since the AU-sponsored negotiations failed because of the lack of a serious political will to solve the crisis in Ethiopia and the latter’s increasing inflexibility due to its domestic problems. This is added to the fact that the AU has weak influence on the three countries, unlike the UAE.”
He famous, “The UAE meets all necessities to function a mediator on condition that it enjoys good relations with the three international locations and has investments in all of them.”
Sharaki added, “The Ethiopian side has always rejected mediation and that applies to the US interference in the GERD file last year. Addis Ababa refused to sign the Washington declaration back then, claiming that the Trump administration is biased toward Egypt. Ethiopia should not in any case try to impose a fait accompli by continuing to fill the GERD reservoir.”
He mentioned in case the tripartite negotiations fail, “The UN Security Council will be the last resort for all sides and the international will will be imposed on all of them.”
Hani Raslan, head of the Sudan and Nile Basin Countries Unit at Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, informed Al-Monitor, “The UAE supports and has good relations with the Ethiopian regime. Yet it has not made any efforts lately so as to make the Ethiopian position more flexible or try to contain the crisis.”
He mentioned, “The success of the UAE initiative depends on the suggested content [of this initiative] as well as on the will and support to make such an initiative a success. The initiative will be welcomed in case it meets the legitimate Egyptian and Sudanese demands. Water is a question of life and death and a national security matter for Egypt, and there are redlines not to be crossed.”
He defined that Egyptian Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Mohamed Abdel Ati’s go to to Khartoum Jan. 14 aimed to debate and coordinate positions on the GERD negotiations, following the Egyptian reservations on the Sudanese proposal to broaden the position of AU specialists within the negotiations.
Meanwhile, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi hosted Jan. 14 a Sudanese army delegation, headed by Lt. Gen. Shams El Din Kabbashi, a member of the Sovereign Council of Sudan. Their dialogue was centered on the newest developments within the Sudanese-Ethiopian border disaster and the GERD concern. Sisi mentioned he’s wanting ahead to the persevering with cooperation and coordination on all issues of mutual curiosity with Sudan.
Fahmy concluded, “Time does not serve Egypt or Sudan, which are pressured to continue to negotiate with Ethiopia. The closer we are to the second phase of filling the dam, the bigger the problem. The UAE steps are taken in this context.”