Home | News    Tuesday 19 May 2020

Sudan, Egypt say tripartite agreement on Ethiopian dam is crucial

Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam is seen as it undergoes construction work on the Blue Nile river in Guba Woreda, Benishangul Gumuz Region, Ethiopia on September 26, 2019. (Reuters photo)May 19, 2020 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan and Egypt agreed on Tuesday that a tripartite agreement is crucial for the filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD)’s reservoir.

Sudan said would work to narrow the gaps between Egypt and Ethiopia over the contentious dam but also reiterated its support for Washington-brokered process to settle the dispute on the filling of the $4-billion dam.

24 hours after the return of a ministerial delegation that discussed the matter with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in Addis Ababa, Sudanese Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok discussed by phone with his Egyptian counterpart Mostafa Madbouly the disputed filling process.

"The two sides agreed on the need to reach a tripartite agreement that takes into account the interests of the three countries, and to resume talks based on what was agreed in Washington," said the official news agency SUNA.

On 30 March, Hamdok agreed with the U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin that he would seek to convince the two sides to resume discussions over the outstanding issues and agreed to coordinate with Washington.

A final agreement had to be signed in February 2020 on the giant Blue Nile hydropower dam but Addis Ababa did not attend a meeting to finalize discussions on technical and legal talks including dam safety, and environmental and social impacts.

According to SUNA, Hamdok will speak in the coming days, with Abiy on the resumption of the tripartite negotiation.

Egypt seek Security Council’s support

Egypt at the beginning of May 2020 sent a letter to the UN Security Council complaining from Ethiopia’s declared plan to launch the GERD’s filling process next July.

"This is a situation that potentially poses a serious threat to peace and security throughout the region," reads the letter dated on 1 May seen by Sudan Tribune.

The letter which was signed by the Egyptian foreign minister says Ethiopia proposed that Egypt and Sudan accept a plan on the first two years of the filling of the dam’s reservoir, adding they did not share the plan up to now.

The three countries agreed to fill the dam in stages during the wet season in July of every year. the filling will aim for a level of 595 above sea level.

Sameh Shoukry in his letter called on the Security Council to press Ethiopia to not fill unilateral the dam without a tripartite agreement.

"The international community must also encourage Ethiopia to accept the agreement that was reached during the negotiations facilitated by the United States and the World Bank," Shoukry stressed.

Aljazeera TV on Tuesday reported that Ethiopia in a letter to the UN Security Council rejected the Egyptian request.

Egypt, which relies exclusively on the Nile water, fears that the dam will affect the flow of water, while Ethiopia says the dam for hydropower production.