Egypt / Sudan/ Ethiopia: Will Tshisekedi calm the waters in the GERD dispute?

By Jeune Afrique
Posted on Wednesday, 31 March 2021 20:31

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sissi (R) shakes hands with DRC’s President Felix Tshisekedi in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa on the sidelines of the African Union summit on 9 February 2019. EGYPTIAN PRESIDENCY / AFP)

DRC’s President Félix Tshisekedi, who took over the chairmanship of the African Union in February, is to host a first round of dialogue between Cairo, Khartoum and Addis Ababa over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam dispute.

The Renaissance Dam dispute is one of the main diplomatic crises that DRC’s President Felix Tshisekedi has promised to tackle during his chairmanship of the African Union (AU).

The Congolese president wants to organise a dialogue between the different parties involved in the conflict over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

Imminent meeting

This mega-project, initiated by Ethiopia, is set to become Africa’s largest hydroelectric installation. It is the subject of a recurring dispute between Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan, with Cairo and Khartoum arguing that a trilateral agreement should be reached.

A ministerial-level meeting will take place between 3 and 5 April in Kinshasa. It should, unless something changes, be held in the presence of Tshisekedi and Moussa Faki Mahamat, chairman of the AU Commission.

According to several diplomatic sources, the three foreign ministers concerned, accompanied by their counterparts in water and irrigation, are expected to attend the meeting.

These are Ethiopia’s Demeke Mekonnen, Sudan’s Mariam al-Mahdi and Egypt’s Sameh Shoukri. The DRC, for its part, is having its panel of experts, headed by Professor Alphonse Ntumba Luaba, examine the dossier. The latter is still working out the details of this meeting.

Tshisekedi has already visited two countries affected by the crisis. He visited Egypt at the end of January and Ethiopia at the beginning of February, before officially taking over as chairman of the AU.

On 11 March, he spoke for an hour over the phone with his counterpart Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. The Egyptian president is trying to revive the Nile Basin Initiative, which brings together the countries bordering the river, including the DRC.

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