Sudanese Prime Minister Abdella Hamdok is said to have requested a closed-door conference of leaders to discuss the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).
According to an article published on April 13 by Sudan Tribune, the Sudanese Cabinet believes that its invitation for a secret heads of state meeting would not break the March 2015 Declaration of Principles (DoP).
The meeting’s aim is to evaluate the failed GERD talks and look at ways to break the deadlock between the three countries (Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt).
Sudan, according to the source, plans to hold the meeting within ten days. Ethiopia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has yet to respond to Sudan’s request for a private meeting. Egypt, on the other hand, did not respond.
The last round of talks took place in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, with the African Union’s leadership. The meeting ended in a stalemate when Egypt and Sudan suggested moving the talks off the African Union’s agenda by shifting the United States’ and European Union’s observer positions (EU).
Ethiopia provided Egypt and Sudan knowledge exchange earlier this week in preparation for the second filling of the Dam, which is expected to take place in the rainy months of July and August. Both nations, however, turned down the deal, demanding a “binding document” before proceeding with the filling.
They regard the second step of dam filling as a national security danger if it proceeds without a binding agreement – and the binding agreement they want is not only for the operation and filling of the dam, but also for the use of the Nile river in general.
The two countries have also signed a strategic agreement and have been conducting joint military exercises, including with their air forces, lately.
During the second step of filling, Ethiopia aims to hold on to around 13 billion cubic meters of water. And this is regarded as part of the building phase, which has reportedly achieved an 80 percent completion rate.
Ethiopia accused Sudan this week of putting the Horn of Africa’s stability and prosperity at risk.
It’s unclear if the private meeting would result in a move, or whether Ethiopia will consider it at all.