In today’s briefing, Ethiopia’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson stated that Ethiopia has declined the Sudanese call for a closed-door meeting.
In his bi-weekly press briefing on Wednesday, Ambassador Dina Mufti told journalists that Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed replied to his Sudanese counterpart Abdalla Hamdok call to discuss the long-running dispute over Addis Ababa’s mega-dam on the Blue Nile in a closed-door meeting between the three countries [Ethiopia, Sudan, and Egypt].
Article 10 of the 2015 Declaration of Principles signed by Ethiopia, Sudan, and Egypt stated that if the parties involved do not succeed in solving the dispute through talks or negotiations, they can ask for mediation or refer the matter to their Heads of States or Prime Ministers.
According to the spokesperson, “the process that has been started by the Heads of States of the African Union did not fail.”
“They [Sudan and Egypt] would like to portray and push that the negotiation had failed but not,” Dina said.
The spokesperson said that “the African Union Assembly of Heads of States should take the initiative to solve the problem.”
Dina stressed that Ethiopia wouldn’t attend meetings that are incapable of producing any practical result.
“We don’t have a problem being part of many meetings, but it should not be futile,” he said.
On his last week's bi-weekly press briefing, the spokesperson had said, “Sudan’s invitation to a closed-door meeting would be evaluated based on its merit, and Ethiopia will react after conducting a study on the matter.”
Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok invited his Ethiopian and Egyptian counterparts to a summit within ten days to evaluate the negotiations regarding the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.
On the other hand, the spokesperson replied to Sudan and Egypt’s call for the quartet that includes the African Union, the United States, the European Union, and the United Nations to mediate the GERD issue.
“We don’t have any problem with quartet negotiations, but what about the respect for Africa? Why don’t we respect Africa?” he asked.
“African Union is a Continental organization so that it can solve African problems through African solutions.”
“They say that there has not been a result in the negotiation of the African Union, which is wrong; there has been an agreement reached on some technical and legal issues. They are asking us to condemn our next-generation via their colonial treaty,” he added.
Regarding the GERD issue, Dina blamed Sudan for being a representative of another body, although failing to disclose the specifics.
“They have been concerned about the safety of the dam, which we have been spending tons of money on and all this time not to build an obsolete dam. If it is about the safety of the dam, the ones who should be concerned are Ethiopians.”
He continues, “we are ready to provide them with the information they need during the filling of the second phase.”
“The one who represents them is also pushing them. This shows that they don’t have their agenda. The representer would like to enjoy a war between Ethiopia and Sudan. Ethiopia chooses not to jump right away into war. This is magnanimity and modesty,” he added.
According to the spokesperson’s briefing, Ethiopia is not much concerned with the move of Sudan and Egypt.
“The bigger picture is the ball, not the pitch, and our ball is the GERD. The military exercise and vaunting or bullying will vent away as time passes by.”
The spokesperson said that “some forces use disaster, war, and displacement as a pretext to create job opportunities. They are not concerned about human rights violations; they do have a vested interest. They regret lacking a protracted war in East Africa that has not happened as per their assumption.”
According to him, “they are not concerned about the human rights violations.”
“There have been noises when we commence law and order operations in Tigray while when Sudan occupies Ethiopia’s land, they [the international community] remain silent.”
On the other hand, the spokesperson told journalists that fake stories have been flowing around on the Sudanese side over the capturing of about 61 Ethiopian soldiers.
“They have captured and released about 61 Ethiopians; 59 farmers residing in the border areas and two militias,” he said.
“There is no military confrontation between the two countries. There is no way that one of us [Ethiopians or Sudanese] captures any soldiers from the battlefield. They portrayed it as a capture of Ethiopian soldiers, which is not the case.”