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Sudan looks forward for continued African mediation over GERD issue

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GERD (Reuters photo)February 6, 2021 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan looks forward to the continuation of the African Union mediation to reach a binding agreement on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), said the Sudanese Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok.

Hamdok was speaking at the 34th African Union virtual summit on Saturday as Felix- Antoine Tshisekedi, President of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has been elected as the new Chairperson of the African Union for 2021, replacing Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa.

"We hope that the efforts of the Presidency of the African Union, under the leadership of Congolese President Felix- Antoine Tshisekedi, will continue to reach satisfactory and sustainable solutions for all parties on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam," said Hamdok.

He pointed out that the Ethiopian dam poses a threat to the security and safety of more than 20 million Sudanese, explaining that the solution that his country looking for is the "one that preserves everyone’s interests."

The parties to the Renaissance Dam failed to reach an agreement on filling and operating the giant dam, despite years of negotiations rounds.

Sudan calls for a mediation to be led by the African Union saying the current approach of direct talks is no longer valid to reach an agreement on the Ethiopian dam.

The filling of the GERD process, and function, threatens the safety of the Rosaries Dam and the 20 million Sudanese living downstream of the giant dam located at 15 km from the border.

in July 2020, Ethiopia unilaterally and without notification stocked 4.9 billion cubic meters of water representing the first phase of the filling operation. The GERD reservoir has a capacity of 74 BCM.

Sudan said the 3-day operation with was done without notification affected drinking water stations in the capital.

In response to Sudan’s demand for coordination and exchange of data during the filling or the operation of the dam, Ethiopian Irrigation Minister Silesh Bekele said his country is ready for an agreement on the dam safety and release of water.

However, he said that his country would conduct the second phase of the reservoir filling of 13.5 billion cubic meters of water in July 2021.

Last August, Minister Bekele made similar statements stressing that the second phase of filling would be launched regardless of the state of negotiations with the downstream countries.

(ST)

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