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Sudan proposes to amend GRED agreement in 10 years

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A satellite image shows the GERD and the Blue Nile on 26 June 2020 (Maxar Technologies- Reuters)August 19, 2020 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan proposed amending the expected agreement on the filling and operation of the Great Ethiopian the Renaissance Dam (GERD) within 10 years after its implementation.

South African Presiden Cyril Ramaphosa who is the Chairman of the African Union mediation on the GRED requested from Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia to submit their draft-agreements with the aim of writing one draft agreement with the participation of the technical teams of the three countries.

The three countries filled their draft agreements on Tuesday.

The Sudanese draft, seen by Sudan Tribune, says the agreement on the GRED can be amended with the approval of the three parties after 10 years of its entry into force.

This amendment should include updating the data and tables, attached to the draft, based on the updated hydrological data of the Blue Nile in the site of the GERD, further said the Sudanese paper.

Sudan further recalled its position that the filling of the Dam lake should be done in stages agreed by the three countries, provided that the filling process occurs during the wet season and to reduce the quantities of water retained for the filling of the dam in the event of drought and continuous drought.

Ethiopia during the talks expressed their fear that an agreement on the filling of the GERD will allow the downstream countries to obstruct its future projects on the Blue Nile saying they would need the approval of Egypt and Sudan for every project, a matter that they refuse.

For Egypt, Ethiopia should not be enabled to control the flow of the GERD at will to implement its projects on the Blue Nile, because that means giving the upstream country the right to amend the would-be signed agreement.

Sudan initially backed the Egyptian position but later it proposed a compromise reaffirming that the agreement should not prejudice Ethiopia’s future development projects on the Blue Nile.

The development projects should be implemented under the international law, and to observe the principles of equitable and reasonable utilisation of transboundary watercourses, the obligation not to cause significant harm and cooperation, according to the Sudanese negotiating team.

The Sudanese draft agreement further called to complete studies of assessing the GRED environmental and social impacts and to implement recommendations of these studies after its approval by a ministerial committee.

With regard to the safety of the dam and emergency situations, Sudan proposed a number of procedures and requirements that oblige the parties to exchange information and documents necessary for the safety of communities and infrastructures in the downstream countries.

Also, the Sudanese draft agreement calls for immediate notification and prompt handling of all emergencies, including any water quality problem, as it will directly affect the daily flow of water in the Roseires dam.

(ST)

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The Sudan Tribune editorial team.


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