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Sudan demands to postpone GERD talks for one week

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A satellite image shows the GERD and the Blue Nile on 26 June 2020 (Maxar Technologies- Reuters)
July 28, 2020 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan Tuesday requested to postpone for a week the talks on filling and operation of the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) in order to conduct internal consultations.

The announcement of the request came after the first meeting of the higher committee to follow-up the GERD negotiations, recently established by the Prime Minister with the aim of involving other ministries in the talks.

A statement issued by the cabinet office said that the meeting was chaired by Abdallah Hamdok and attended by the cabinet affairs, foreign affairs, justice and irrigation ministers in addition to the Director-General of the General Intelligence Service and the Director-General of the Military Intelligence.

"The meeting approved Sudan’s request to postpone the negotiations for a week to start next Monday 3/8 in order to complete the internal consultation on this important file."

The meeting also agreed that negotiations aim to reach a fair and legally binding agreement for all parties.

The legal nature of the agreement on the GERD filling and operation is now the main source of divergence in the talks as parties agreed on over 95% of the technical issues of the long term process.

Ethiopia rejects a legally binding agreement saying it would prevent the two other dams to produce power, it plans to build in the future.

Sudan proposed in the last round of talks to include a disposition in the negotiated deal ensuring Ethiopia’s right to build new dams on the Blue Nile but to negotiate the matter with downstream countries.

The statement said the meeting reviewed Sudan’s negotiating position during all previous stages, until the current round of talks under the auspices of the African Union.

The meeting discussed the step of unilateral filling by Ethiopia and its impact on Sudan and on the path of future negotiations.

Ethiopia, last week, said it had already achieved its first phase for filling the GRED reservoir, thanks to a heavy rainy season.

The filing will take more than five years before to reach its capacity of 74bcm.

(ST)

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