water retained by Al-Karam Dam reached about 1 million cubic meters as of October 2019- press photo
CAIRO – 2 June 2020: Sudan confirmed its approval to resume the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GRED) talks at the level of irrigation ministers, in a letter to the UN Security Council, according to Al-Ghad channel.
A spokesman for the Sudanese government stressed that Sudan is keen on its interests and those of Egypt and Ethiopia regarding the Renaissance Dam.
It is worth noting that Sudanese Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources Yasser Abbas held two separate meetings on May 27 with his counterparts, Egyptian Minister Mohamed Abdel-Ati and Ethiopian Minister Seleshi Bekele, to discuss arrangements for the resumption of negotiations on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).
The Sudanese News Agency reported Hamdok as saying that Sudan is ready for continuous communication with the two countries to reach an agreement that guarantees full consensus between the three parties and takes into account their respective interests.
Negotiations were suspended in February after Ethiopia refused to sign a draft agreement prepared by the United States and the World Bank.
Sudan on May 12 rejected Ethiopia’s proposal to sign a partial agreement to start filling the reservoir of the dam in July.
Ethiopia has announced its plan to store 4.9 billion cubic meters of Nile waters in the reservoir of the dam in July, while Cairo insists on adhering to the Washington talks on filling and operating rules for GERD, as well as to the declaration of principles signed between the three countries in 2015.
Egypt took part in the latest GERD meeting in Washington on February 27 and 28, which produced a final agreement regarding filling and operating the GERD.
Representatives from Addis Ababa were noticeably absent from the meeting, and only Egypt has signed the agreement so far. Sudan has also abstained from signing the agreement to fill and operate the GERD.
Ethiopia has also warned that it would begin filling the dam in July without signing an agreement. Construction is not due to be finished until 2023.
Egypt’s Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Water Resources has rejected Ethiopia’s plan to fill the reservoir of the GERD before construction work is finished and regardless of whether an agreement has been reached with downstream countries.
Egypt relies considerably on fresh water from the Nile and has voiced concerns that the GERD would negatively impact the country’s water supply, especially in light of overpopulation fears, and has thus insisted throughout negotiations that measures be put in place to protect downstream countries in case of drought during the filling process at the dam.