Sudanese officials have declined to attend the virtual talks on the filling and operation of the controversial Ethiopian dam being built on the River Nile, according to the Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy in Addis Ababa.The Sudanese delegation did not show up as Water Ministers and Experts of Ethiopia and Egypt and Sudan were present at the AU mediated talks on Monday for undisclosed reasons.
Ethiopia, while communicating its reservations to the chairperson of the AU Executive Council, had agreed to adopt a document drafted by the body’s assigned experts as an input to the trilateral negotiation.
Nevertheless, the meeting planned to take stock of agreed and outstanding issues could not be held due to the absence of the Sudanese delegation.
According to the Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy, Ethiopia notified this development to the chairperson of the AU Executive Council.
In a statement issued late Monday,Sudan said it will not take part in direct talks with Egypt and Ethiopia on GERD.
Sudan claimed the negotiations should be held with African Union mediation.
“Based on the outcomes of the ministerial meeting between the three countries held on Sunday, Sudan has submitted a request to hold a meeting with the AU experts and monitors,” Sudan’s Water Resources and Irrigation Ministry said in a statement.
“Instead of a reply to this request, Sudan received an invitation for a direct tripartite meeting, so it has expressed its reservations over participating in this meeting” the statement said.
The Sudanese ministry stressed that all future talks must proceed with AU mediation.
Khartoum reiterated its position that the GERD talks should be processed under AU brokerage to reach a binding and satisfactory legal agreement for the three parties involved.