Sudan Voices Reservation Over Participation in Talks on Disputed Dam

Sunday, Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia on Sunday unanimously agreed to temporarily suspend the tripartite talks over the GERD for one week and resume on January 10.

Sudan has shown concerns over participating in a ministerial meeting on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) that was convened on Monday, the country’s Irrigation and Water Resources Ministry says.

“Based on the outcome of the tripartite ministerial meeting held on Sunday, Sudan requested the convening of a bilateral meeting with the African Union (AU) experts and observers on the evening,” the ministry said in a statement.

“Instead of a response to the request, Sudan received an invitation to continue the direct tripartite talks, which pushed it to announce reservation over participation, to show its firm position on the need to give a role to the AU experts to facilitate the negotiations and narrow the gap among the three parties,” it noted.

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The Irrigation and Water Resources Ministry further emphasised Sudan’s adherence to the negotiation process under the AU, pursuant to the principle of “African solutions for African issues”.

Sunday, Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia unanimously agreed to suspend temporarily the tripartite talks over the GERD for one week and resume on January 10.

All three countries have been negotiating under the African Union patronage over legal and technical issues related to the filling and operation of the GERD.

The negotiators representing Sudan believe that the GERD talks should go beyond the level of irrigation ministers. The country believes the talks should be referred to the African Union and the leaders of the three countries to provide the political will to bring their positions closer.

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Ethiopia, which commenced the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam in 2011, expects to generate more than 6,000 megawatts of electricity from the project, while Egypt and Sudan are concerned that the dam might affect their water resources.

Both Egypt and Sudan are downstream Nile Basin countries and rely on the river Nile for their freshwater supply.

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