Sudan to take all measures to preserve national security after Ethiopia unilaterally filled GERD: FM

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Mon, 02 Aug 2021 - 12:10 GMT

FILE – Sudanese Foreign Minister Mariam Al-Mahdi

FILE – Sudanese Foreign Minister Mariam Al-Mahdi

CAIRO – 2 August 2021: Sudanese Foreign Minister Mariam Al-Sadiq Al-Mahdi said her country will take all measures to preserve its national security and interests after Ethiopia implemented the filling of its grand dam (GERD) for the second time without a deal with Egypt and Sudan.

This includes political, economic, legal and diplomatic measures, Mahdi told Bahraini Al-Watan newspaper.

Ethiopia’s filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam for the second time without an agreement represents a flagrant violation of the international law and international agreements related to transnational rivers, Mahdi said.

By such act, Ethiopia continues to take unilateral measures that harm the interests of the downstream countries of Egypt and Sudan, she added.

Ethiopia is also turning a blind eye on the international and regional calls on Addis Ababa to refrain from taking any unilateral acts in this regard, she affirmed.

Mahdi said Sudan welcomes all international and regional initiatives aiming to reach a solution to the GERD crisis that results in an agreement on the filling and operation of the dam.

Sudan has admitted Ethiopia’s right to make use of its water resources since the beginning of the GERD negotiations in mid-2011, Mahdi said.

She said the GERD has benefits to Sudan but Sudan has affirmed that these benefits can turn to threats in the absence of a legally-binding agreement that regulates the filling and operation of the mega dam.

She warned that the lives of 20 million Sudanese people living along the River Nile banks and working in flood agriculture will be subject to change due to GERD.

Also, the lack of data and detailed information on the daily flow of water coming from the Renaissance Dam represents an imminent threat to the power plants in the Sudanese dams and to irrigation systems and agricultural planning, Mahdi added.

On 28 July 2021, Sudanese Irrigation Minister Yasser Abbas said Sudan will not resume the GERD negotiations with the same previous methodology.

In press remarks, Abbas said Sudan is adhering to its demand to involve an international quartet in the GERD negotiations to enhance the role of the African Union (AU).

The international quartet includes the United States, the United Nations, the European Union, and the AU.

Abbas said the exchange of information on the filling and operation of the massive dam is essential, affirming that a legally-binding agreement is needed in this regard.

Ethiopia announced the completion of the second phase of filling the GERD reservoir, although Egypt and Sudan have rejected this step unless a binding agreement among the three countries is reached.

Egypt and Sudan argue that a comprehensive, binding agreement on the filling and operation of the dam is essential to secure their water interests and people’s rights in the River Nile, which both countries mainly rely on for water.

During his remarks to the press, Abbas said the second phase of filling the dam only added four billion cubic metres of water at most, which is much less than what Ethiopia announced.

Abbas said the GERD would be beneficial to Sudan if information on GERD is exchanged in accordance with a legally-binding agreement.

On July 8, Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and his Sudanese counterpart, Mariam Al-Sadiq Al-Mahdi delivered speeches at the United Nations Security Council, explaining the threats the Ethiopian dam poses on their peoples and water rights in case no binding agreement is reached among their three countries.

The UNSC member states’ ambassadors also affirmed the need for the quick resumption of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam talks under the auspices of the African Union and some offered help in the issue.

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