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Ethiopia ready to resume talks with Egypt, Sudan over Blue Nile dam

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Ethiopia says it is willing to continue talks with Egypt and Sudan over the building of the huge and controversial Blue Nile dam.

The position was made known through a statement by Ethiopia’sforeign ministry on Friday.

The ministry quoted Ethiopia’s ambassador to the United States as highlighting “Ethiopia’s interest to resume the African Union-led trilateral negotiation over the GERD,” or Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.

The foreign ministry spokesman Dina Mufti told reporters the third filling of the dam is on schedule this year.

“We have been saying since the start of the dam’s construction that tripartite talks will continue,” he added.

Although the Nile has a long history, the dispute, especially between Egypt and Ethiopia over it, escalated when Ethiopia commenced construction of the dam on the Blue Nile in 2011.

Although Ethiopia has argued that the hydroelectric GERD will not significantly affect the flow of water into the Nile, Egypt, which depends almost entirely on the Nile waters for household and commercial uses, sees the dam as a major threat to its water security.

Several past rounds of negotiations among Ethiopia, Egypt, and Sudan have failed. Egypt fears a quick filling of the dam will reduce its share of Nile waters and seeks a binding legal agreement in case of a dispute.

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Sudan’s junta leader, General al-Burhan, promises to withdraw army from civilian government

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Leader of Sudan’s military junta, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, has promised he will withdraw the army from further participating in political discussions aimed at ushering in a transitional civilian government.

General al-Burhan made the promise on Monday following another week of violent anti-coup protests in the capital Khartoum and other major cities which led to the killing of over 10 protesters by overzealous security forces loyal to the military government.

The protests have become an almost weekly event since Gen al-Burhan staged a coup that ousted the civilian-led transitional government that followed the overthrow of longtime President Omar al-Bashir in 2019 was itself removed by a military coup in October 2021, and over 100 youths have been killed while several opposition figures have been arrested and clamped in detention.

But following last Thursday violence, which also saw at least 629 injured by security forces crackdown on the demonstrations and the worldwide condemnation that accompanied it, Gen. al-Burhan was forced to react by vowing to withdraw the army from government.

“The armed forces will not stand in the way of democratic transition or interfere in elections in which the Sudanese people choose who will govern them,” al-Burhan said in a televised address, while also affirming the military’s commitment to working towards a seamless transition to democracy.

Al-Burhan added that a new ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces would be created after the formation of the government and it will only be responsible for security and defence tasks and “related responsibilities” in agreement with the government.

The army’s withdrawal from the political talks is aimed at allowing the political groups to form the technocrat government, he said.

However, pro-democracy groups and the protest leaders are sceptical about al-Burhan keeping true to his promise, as they have repeatedly said they will not negotiate with the military, and have called for them to immediately hand the reins to a civilian government.

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Rwanda/Congo DR: Kagame, Tshisekedi to meet in Angola. Will they finally bury the hatchet?

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The leaders of two African countries that have been at loggerheads in recent months, Democratic Republic of Congo’s President Felix Tshisekedi and his Rwandan counterpart Paul Kagame, will meet for talks this week.

officials revealed on Monday that Tshisekedi will meet Kagame in Angola this week.

The subject of the meeting is unknown yet, but it is expected that this would be an opportunity to discuss current diplomatic issues between both countries.

The acrimony between the countries was pronounced last month when Rwandan military authorities accused the armed forces of neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo of cross-border attacks.

Rwanda denied and in turn, accused Congo of fighting alongside insurgents – a face-off that has raised fears of fresh conflict in the region.

The meeting is likely to take place on Tuesday or Wednesday in Angola’s capital Luanda.

Recall that President Paul Kagame on Monday said he doesn’t mind if his country is excluded from a regional military force battling rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Congo had welcomed the plan to deploy regional force to its troubled zones but said it would not accept the involvement of Rwanda.

The African Union through its Chair, Macky Sall, who is also the president of Senegal had intervened in the diplomatic brouhaha and called for dialogue in the pursuit of a lasting solution.

Hopefully, the scheduled meeting will be the “dialogue” that would enhance lasting peace between the East African neighbours.

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