Khartoum, Jan 5 | Sudan has voiced reservation over participation in a ministerial meeting on the disputed Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) built on the Nile River, said the country’s Irrigation and Water Resources Ministry.
“Based on the outcome of the tripartite ministerial meeting held on Sunday, Sudan requested convening of a bilateral meeting with the African Union (AU) experts and observers on the evening,” Xinhua news agency quoted the Ministry as saying in a statement on Monday.
“Instead of a response to the request, Sudan received an invitation to continue the direct tripartite talks, which pushed it to announce reservation over participation, to show its firm position on the need to give a role to the AU experts to facilitate the negotiations and narrow the gap among the three parties,” the statement added.
The Ministry further stressed Sudan’s adherence to the negotiation process under the AU pursuant to the principle of “African solutions for African issues”.
On Sunday, Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia agreed to suspend the tripartite talks over the GERD for one week to resume on January 10.
The three countries 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.