Sudan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Maryam Al-Sadiq Al-Mahdi, has pointed out that the visit of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi to Khartoum on Saturday came at a time when the two countries are in urgent need of a strategic relationship to ensure bilateral development and stability.
“This is a well-known fact,” Al-Mahdi told Al-Sharq Al-Awsat on Monday, “but this time the situation is different, because the two countries tried to abandon each other, and attempted to dominate and interfere in each other’s affairs, which was fruitless for both.”
The minister announced that Sudan and Egypt have agreed to have the African Union (AU) lead the talks on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. With regard to Ethiopia’s announcement that it will initiate the second filling of the reservoir behind the dam in July, she said: “This is a situation that exposes all of us to danger, but for Sudan, the danger is very imminent. Egypt faces challenges in its water security, but Sudan will be deprived of water immediately after the filling starts, which threatens the lives of 20 million Sudanese citizens.”
Al-Mahdi explained that Khartoum and Cairo had agreed to coordinate their positions and start expanding diplomatic moves to explain to African leaders the danger of the unilateral filling of the reservoir, as well as the implications of individual actions taken by Ethiopia. “At the same time, there will be actions taken in cooperation with the international community, especially the European Union, the United Nations and the United States.”
She added that the two countries might seek other options — which she did not reveal — if Ethiopia insists on filling the reservoir.
The Sudanese foreign minister described relations between Sudan and Ethiopia as “strategic” and confirmed that Khartoum is very keen on maintaining ties with Addis Ababa. Hence, it is open to any joint cooperation formula with Ethiopia after completing the process of border demarcation.
Al-Mahdi confirmed that Sudan has refrained from responding to Ethiopian media campaigns after taking into account the domestic problems facing Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. “We preferred to be more understanding of the internal affairs and the political situation in Ethiopia,” she concluded.