Ethiopia’s FM, South African President Hold Talks over Bilateral Issues

ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopia’s Foreign Minister Demeke Mekonnen and South African president Cyril Ramaphosa has held talks over various bilateral issues on Wednesday.

The discussion held in South Africa’s capital Pretoria has revolved around “current affairs in Ethiopia and bilateral relations”, said Demeke, who is also the deputy prime minister of Ethiopia.

“We vowed to strengthen the long-standing bilateral relations between the two countries,” Deputy Prime Minister Demeke said.

A day before his travel to South Africa, Demeke also met with Foreign Minister of Comoros Dhoihir Dhoulkamal on bilateral issues and the tripartite talks over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

On the occasion, Dhoulkamal said Comoros is keen to strengthen relationships between the two countries, particularly in culture, industry, vocational training, and the medical sector, including in efforts to fight COVID-19, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement..

Comoros’s FM said he had meetings with the leaders of Egypt and Sudan to talk about the GERD negotiations as a member of the AU Bureau and because Comoros considers the interests of the three countries as its own.

In this regard, he expressed his country’s confidence that the tripartite would solve outstanding issues over the dam through a round table discussion, according to the statement.

Demeke appreciated the longstanding relationship between the two nations and said further consultations would be made to engage in sectors that the foreign minister of Comoros had suggested.

The FM also appreciated the concern and initiative Comoros has shown to help the tripartite amicably solve outstanding issues over the GERD talks, and added Ethiopia wants to utilize the Nile waters equitably and reasonably in line with the principle of causing no significant harm to the downstream states.

Although Ethiopia contributes 86% of the water resources, it has never been able to utilize the Nile, he said.

Sudan and Egypt want to continue their monopoly over the Nile waters and have continued to internationalize and politicize what purely is a technical matter to protect the unfair status quo, he said.

The Deputy Prime Minister added that Ethiopia is ready to continue the negotiation and is confident that the AU-led process under the DR Congo chairmanship would bear fruits satisfactory to all involved.

He finally appreciated the unwavering commitment of Comoros to stand by Ethiopia in critical times and appreciated the efforts of the AU Bureau members, such as Comoros to give an amicable solution to the tripartite talks,  according to his office.