Sudan: Professor - GERD Has Economic and Social Importance in Sudan

Roseires — Professor Muhammad Akoud, member of the negotiation delegation on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) stressed the importance of reaching a legally binding agreement between Sudan, Egypt, and Ethiopia regarding filling and operating the dam.

The dam lies at the source of the Blue Nile river in Ethiopia. Akoud said that "the Ethiopian dam must be filled so that the Roseires reservoir in Sudan's Blue Nile state is not negatively impacted by its proximity to it."

The professor explained the economic and social importance of the dam at a press conference yesterday, held in Roseires, near the state capital of Ed Damazin.

Roseires reservoir provides irrigation for El Gezira and El Managil agricultural schemes, El Rahad farms in El Gedaref, and El Souki farm projects in Sennar. 70 per cent of Sudan's agricultural projects depend on the Roseires reservoir as well as 20 million people, who represent 50 per cent of the Sudanese population, according to Akoud.

"Their lives depend on the waters of the Blue Nile," he said, calling for changes to the current negotiation methodology in GERD talks and giving the African Union experts a greater role in the negotiation.

Previous rounds of negotiations have failed to reach any consensus between Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan. Last week, the Sudanese Ministry of Irrigation and Water Resources announced that the country will withdraw from the current round of negotiations with Ethiopia and Egypt on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) unless a mediation body has been established.

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