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All options open regarding Nile dam, says Sudan

Sudan’s Irrigation and Water Resources Minister, Yasir Abbas, said the failure of the latest round of talks regarding the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) had made all options open before Sudan.

Yasir Abbas
Sudan’s Irrigation and Water Resources Minister, Yasir Abbas

Abbas, who said this at a news conference in Khartoum on Wednesday, April 7, 2021, added that the options included resorting to the UN Security Council.

“All options are open before Sudan, including resorting to the UN Security Council.

“Filling of the dam without a deal directly threatens Sudan and exposes the lives of 20 million citizens living below the dam to danger.

“This is not a matter of propaganda or media intimidation, but a description of the facts, as the storage capacity of Sudan’s Al-Rusaires Dam is 7 billion cubic meters and it is only 15 kms from the GERD whose storage capacity is 74 billion cubic meters,” he noted.

He reiterated Sudan’s firm position which calls for changing the negotiating approach to reach a binding legal agreement.

Abbas further denied that Ethiopia proposed for Sudan to a bilateral agreement in any way.

The Democratic Republic of Congo, the current chair of the African Union (AU), has hosted the latest round of talks over the GERD with the participation of Sudan, Egypt, and Ethiopia.

Sudan proposed a mediation quartet of the United Nations, the European Union (EU), the United States, and the African Union (AU) regarding the GERD issue.

Ethiopia, however, has announced its rejection of this formula.

In February, Ethiopia said it would carry on with the second-phase 13.5-billion-cubic-meter filling of the GERD in June. The volume of the first-phase filling last year was 4.9 billion cubic meters.

Sudan, Egypt, and Ethiopia have been in talks for years over the technical and legal issues related to the filling and operation of the GERD.

Ethiopia, which started building the GERD in 2011, expects to produce more than 6,000 megawatts of electricity from the dam project, while Egypt and Sudan, downstream Nile Basin countries that rely on the river for its freshwater, are concerned that the dam might affect their share of the water resources.

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