Talks in Sudan Over Repercussions of GERD’s Second Filling

The Sudanese ministries of foreign affairs and irrigation and water resources have held a meeting to assess the country’s position on the mega dam Ethiopia is building on the Blue Nile.

Foreign Minister Mariam al-Mahdi and Irrigation Minister Yasser Abbas held a coordination meeting on Monday, with the participation of experts from both ministries, to assess the legal, political and technical aspects of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), the Sudanese news agency reported.

Meanwhile, senior irrigation ministry officials also discussed the repercussions of Addis Ababa’s announcement of its second filling of the GERD in July.

The filling of the Renaissance Dam by one side next July represents a direct threat to Sudan’s national security in case the three countries concerned (Ethiopia, Egypt, and Sudan) do not reach a legal and binding agreement on the rules of filling and operating the dam, they stressed.

The unilateral filling of the reservoir threatened electricity generation from Sudan’s Merowe Dam and Roseires Dam, as well as the safety of the Roseires Dam and of 20 million Sudanese living downstream of the GERD.

Last week, the ministry announced that the dam is expected to hold 13.5 billion cubic meters of water in the upcoming rainy season. Ethiopia had first filled the reservoir in 2020.

It highlighted the importance of preparing early and taking all necessary technical and administrative measures to face all possibilities before the second filling.

Last year, floodwaters in Sudan reached the highest levels on record, killing dozens of people, destroying thousands of homes, and encroaching on some neighborhoods of the capital Khartoum.

The previous rounds of negotiations have faltered due to the divergence of positions between Addis Ababa, Khartoum, and Cairo.

Therefore, Sudan kicked off intense diplomatic efforts to resume the stalled negotiations on the GERD to mobilize regional and international support for its position.

Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok has earlier warned that the planned second filling of the GERD without a legal binding agreement with Egypt and Sudan would have a “disastrous impact” on Sudan.

He stressed that his country will not accept the de facto policy, which threatens its citizens and water installations on the Blue Nile.

Sudan demands that the dam be established on the basis of international law, which preserves the rights of all parties and ensures that no party gets affected, the PM noted.

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