Sudan voices reservation over participation in Nile dam talks

Sudan has voiced its reservation over participation in a ministerial meeting on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) that was convened on Monday, the country’s Irrigation and Water Resources Ministry has said.

“Based on the outcome of the tripartite ministerial meeting held on Sunday, Sudan requested the convening of a bilateral meeting with the African Union (AU) experts and observers on the evening,” the ministry said in a statement.

“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,” it noted.

The ministry further stressed Sudan’s adherence to the negotiation process under the AU, pursuant to the principle of “African solutions for African issues”.

Tripartite talks suspended

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, while Egypt and Sudan, downstream Nile Basin countries that rely on the river for its fresh water, are concerned that the dam might affect their water resources.

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