Khartoum, Jan 8 | Sudan has expressed concerns over Ethiopia’s announcement of its intention to carry on with the second phase of filling the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on the Nile river.
“The announcement by the Ethiopian Minister of Irrigation and Energy on his country’s intention to proceed with the GERD filling for the second year of 13.5 billion cubic metres of water in coming July, without prior notification and without signing a deal or exchanging of information with the Al-Rusaires Dam, constitutes a direct threat to Al-Rusaires Dam and to the lives of those who live on the banks of the Nile,” Yasir Abbas, Sudan’s Irrigation and Water Resources Minister, said on Thursday.
The Minister made the remarks in a letter to South Africa’s International Relations and Cooperation Minister.
South Africa is the current chair of the African Union (AU).
Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia have been negotiating under the AU patronage over technical and legal issues related to the filling and operation of the GERD.
The Sudanese negotiators believe that the GERD talks should go beyond the level of irrigation ministers and be referred to the AU and the leaders of the three countries to provide political will to bring their positions closer.
Ethiopia, which started building the GERD in 2011, expects to produce more than 6,000 megawatts of electricity from the project.
But Egypt and Sudan, downstream Nile Basin countries that rely on the river for fresh water, are concerned that the dam might affect their water resources.
Over the past few years, tripartite talks on the rules of filling and operating the GERD have been fruitless, including those hosted by Washington and recently by the AU.