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Talks on Ethiopian dam postponed for one week on Sudanese demand


GERD (Reuters (photo)
August 10, 2020 (KHARTOUM) - The talks on the filing and operation of the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) have been postponed for a week upon Sudanese request.

Last Tuesday 4 August, Ethiopia brushed aside the progress achieved on the GERD filling and operation and proposed an immediate agreement on the first filling of the mega-dam to be followed negotiations "to finalize a comprehensive agreement in subsequent periods"

The Ethiopian proposal triggered a strong Sudanese rejection because it was perceived as an attempt to include other agendas in the already complicated negotiations.

However, the talks resumed on Monday upon the demand of South Africa which is the current chairman of the African Union.

Sudan’s request to postpone negotiations for a week is due to the exchange of letters between the parties on changing the negotiation agenda from filling and operating the Renaissance Dam and future projects on the Blue Nile to "a new agenda related to water sharing among the Nile Basin countries," said the Sudanese irrigation ministry on Monday.

"To meet these developments, there is a need to expand internal consultations before resuming negotiations," further stressed the Sudanese side.

Sudan and Egypt request

For its part, Egypt issued a statement after the meeting stressing its readiness to resume talks on the GERD "filling and operation".

Nonetheless, the Ethiopian water ministry issued a statement saying the talks have been adjourned for a week due to "Egypt and Sudan’s request to adjourn the meetings".

The statement went further to say that Ethiopia had sent a proposal on the Guidelines and Rules on the filling of the GERD, in line with the Communique of the African Union Assembly Bureau dated 24 July 2020 and the understanding reached by the Ministers of Water Affairs during their meeting on 03 August 2020 to work on a common document".

The parties agreed to resume talks on 17 August 2020.


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