Sudan: GERD Negotiations Resumed While Sudan Calls for Different Strategy

Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo — Sudan renewed negotiations on the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam in Kinshasa, capital of DRC, on Sunday. Negotiations took place on Sunday, Monday, and Today, in which Sudan called for a new negotiation approach.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Maryam El Sadig El Mahdi explained that the delegation including the Minister of Irrigation and a number of specialists in the field of water, irrigation, and law came to Kinshasa because they are convinced that negotiation is the only way to reach a satisfactory agreement on the filling of the dam.

In her remarks during Monday meeting, El Sadig El Mahdi discussed Sudan's vision regarding future negotiations, suggesting a '1 + 3 formula' in which the African Union (AU) leads the negotiations with the support of the United Nations (UN), the European Union (EU), and the United States of America (USA).

She said that future negotiations require leadership from the African Union, the UN, the EU, and the USA to resolve the outstanding issues and to reach a fair agreement. El Sadig El Mahdi explained that the previous rounds of negations headed by South Africa as chair of the AU were not successful and "wasted two-hundred days".

The EU and the USA have already confirmed their willingness to engage in GERD negotiations.

El Sadig El Mahdi also explained that the first filling of the Renaissance Dam that was carried out by Ethiopia without an agreement and despite Sudan's warnings affected irrigation, livestock, homes, and industry in Sudan, especially in the capital Khartoum.

She again expressed Sudan's rejection of any unilateral filling without an agreement because conflict over resources is undesirable for Africa. The minister added that innovative solutions and agreements on the exchange of benefits must be reached so that futile conflict can be avoided.

Preparation

Multiple meetings over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) and the tense relationship between Khartoum and Addis Ababa took place in February, in preparation for the expected filling of the dam in July by Ethiopia. The GERD committee, headed by Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok, discussed the necessary precautions as Ethiopia begins filling the dam, as it did last year.

PM Hamdok has warned that Ethiopia will probably start the second filling of the GERD next July regardless of any agreement. Various national agencies and institutions must prepare for the negative effects on Sudan's irrigation systems, electricity networks, and drinking water along the Blue Nile and Nile rivers up to Atbara if the dam is filled, he warned.

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