Sudan Rejects Ethiopia’s Plan to Fill Nile Dam for a Second Time

Sudan has rejected an Ethiopian proposal to manage the filling for a second time the giant dam it is building on the Blue Nile, thereby deepening a regional dispute over the project.

Ethiopia plans to fill the reservoir behind the multi-billion dollar hydropower dam after seasonal rains start this summer, a move both Sudan and Egypt oppose without a binding agreement on filling and operating the dam.

Sudan and Egypt last week sent letters asking the UN Security Council to take up the issue.

Sudan’s Foreign Minister sent a message to the council head calling him to urge Ethiopia to stop the “unilateral” filling of the dam.

In a statement released by the government, it said, Ethiopia’s action will “exacerbate the dispute and pose a threat to regional and international peace and security.”

Talks mediated by the African Union, most recently in the Democratic Republic of Congo, have repeatedly stalled.

Sudan has also indicated that it is open to a partial interim agreement before the second filling of the reservoir, with certain conditions.

The senior Sudanese Official on Sunday said the Ethiopian proposal for the second filling is “not real” and “a way to buy time”, adding that any such proposal should come under the auspices of AU mediators and involve all parties.

The Official added that Ethiopia has put forward “impossible conditions” related to the division of the share of the water, which Sudan considers outside the scope of negotiations.

According to reports from Ethiopia’s State Media, the dam is now 80% complete and is expected to reach full generating capacity in 2023, making it Africa’s largest hydroelectric power plant and the world’s seventh-largest.

The latest round of African Union-brokered negotiations in April failed to make progress. The dispute now centres on how quickly Ethiopia should fill and replenish the reservoir and how much water it releases downstream in case of a multi-year drought.

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