ADDIS ABABA – A top Sudanese general on Sunday said his country would mediate a deal on an escalating dispute between Addis Ababa and Cairo over the dam Ethiopia is building on the Nile River.
Tensions are rising in east Africa because of the impasse between Ethiopia and Egypt over the $4.6 billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.
“Sudan is part of the GERD issue and it will act as a mediator to bring views closer and reach a relevant agreement,” said Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, deputy head of Sudan’s Sovereign Council, according to Chinese news agency Xinhua.
Dagalo’s remarks, which were carried by Egypt’s official news agency Sunday, came at the end of two-day visit to Cairo where he met Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi.
Sudan sits between the Egypt and Ethiopia along the Nile’s route.
There has been public disagreement between Cairo and Addis Ababa after Ethiopia did not attend the latest round of talks over the dam on Feb. 26 in Washington.
Ethiopia said it didn’t go because it needed further domestic consultations before signing a deal with Egypt.
The U.S., despite its observer role, came up with on the filling and operation of the dam, and said the final testing and filling of the dam “should not take place without an agreement.”
Egypt signed the draft while Ethiopia and Sudan chose not to do so.
In an interview with Associated Press last week, Ethiopia’s Foreign Minister Gedu Andargachew said the main disagreement “stems from Egypt’s refusal to accept the rights other countries have on the river. There are attempts to enforce colonial agreements but that will never be accepted by Ethiopia. I know the Nile River is God’s gift for Egypt. The same is true for Ethiopia and Sudan. Egyptians should come to terms with that.”
Ethiopia dismissed US’s deal, and is now drafting its own proposal on how to resolve the standoff and It will be presented to Egypt, Sudan and other Nile basin counties soon, its water ministry said.
Ethiopia’s construction of the mega-dam, which will be Africa’s largest and produce 6.4 gigawatts of power, is now around 71.2% complete.