Gms: Khartoum, 31 Dec. 2015 (SV)
Foreign Ministers of Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia signed a new tripartite agreement to boost cooperation in order to resolve outstanding points to reduce the risks and negative effects of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) for Egypt and Sudan following 3-day talks in Khartoum.
The document affirmed full commitment to the Declaration of Principles signed by the President’s of the three countries last March in Khartoum.
The document determined a deadline to implement the GERD studies in a period between eight months to one year, also nominating Artilia French Company to conduct the studies in partnership with B.R.L. Consultancy Office.
The three Ministers agreed to hold a new round of talks in the first week of February, which will receive the participation of the Foreign and Irrigation Ministers of the three countries, aimed at accomplishing confidence building measures between the sides.
The negotiators of the countries invited MPs, media and diplomats to inspect the site of the dam within the framework of confidence building.
Foreign Minister, Prof. Ibrahim Ghandour, in press statements after the signing ceremony, said the signature of the document confirmed the continuation of cooperation between the three countries.
He confirmed the document included all that concerned the three countries according to the Declaration of Principles signed last March by the Presidents of the three countries, whilst stressing it is document is legal and bound.
Ghandour said the document was prepared amid an atmosphere of trust, describing it as historical to accomplish the Declaration of Principles.
For his part, Egyptian Foreign Minister, Sameh Shukri told press the new document dealt with the major concerns of the three countries over GERD.
He added that all the concerns of the Egyptian people were included to achieve water security and protect Egyptian and Sudanese interests.
Shukri insisted the signature came as a result of trust, accountability, honesty and transparency, stressing that Egypt deals with all meetings in the framework of the Declaration of Principles.
Sudan is a major part of the relations between the three countries and not merely a mediator he added.
Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Consultant Ahmed Abu Zaid said the ongoing GERD round of talks in Khartoum reached agreement on 80% of points discussed. He rubbished reports suggesting a failure of negotiations.
The meetings were extended for another day after sides appeared to be reconciling over a number of disputed points.
Abu Zaid denied, in a phone call with Sada Al-Balad TV Channel, rumours about the failure of the tripartite meeting over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam that Addis Ababa is constructing along the Blue Nile.
He disclosed the results of talks will be announced whatever the outcome, pointing out that they are still ongoing and will be completed within hours. He further added that everyone is waiting for the major outcomes of negotiations.
By Al-Sammani Awadallah