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Sudan renews calls for negotiated agreement over GERD filling

The Grand Renaissance Dam is under construction on the Blue Nile River in Ethiopia. (Photo AFP/William Lloyd-George)
June 20, 2020 (KHARTOUM) - The Sudanese Minister of Foreign Affairs, Asma Abdallah, renewed on Saturday, Sudan’s "categorical rejection" of any unilateral move that would harm the country from a unilateral filling of the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

Sudan, Ethiopia and Egypt have recently agreed on almost all the technical steps for the first filling of the GERD. However, the upstream country says this agreement should not have any binding character but is a set of guidelines and rules that it may amend in the future.

However, the Ethiopian government said resolved to launch the filling operation in July and to take advantage of water abundance during the wet season which would last until September.

Abdallah in a statement released on Saturday stressed the need for the parties to negotiate in good faith and abide by the relevant rules of international law. Also, she called to prioritize cooperation to achieve in the interests of the peoples of the three countries.

"The recent negotiating rounds of talks on the Renaissance Dam, have made significant progress on the technical issues. This (development) strengthens the conviction that it is important for the three countries to adhere to the option of negotiation, as the best way to reach a comprehensive and satisfactory agreement," stressed the Sudanese top diplomat.

She further pointed out that the parties still disagree on some fundamental legal issues, which necessitated referring the matter to the prime ministers of the three countries to reach a "political consensus" as soon as possible.

Unlike Egypt, Sudan wants technical coordination between its dams on the Blue Nile and the GERD to control the water release of water and protect it, knowing that the reservoir of the first Sudanese dam is at 15 km from the border and that the new dam is located at 15 km on the other part inside Ethiopia.

Egypt’s President Abdal-Fattah al-Sisi said his country has referred the disagreement with Ethiopia to the UN Security Council because of his country’s keenness to reach a diplomatic and political solution.

(ST)