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Tuesday, 26 May 2020

Sudan has more fears than hopes around the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam: Sudanese minister

Sudan will benefit from the electricity generated by the mega-dam, and from a more stable Nile flow, but an agreement must be reached on the filling and operation of the dam, says Minister of State for Foreign Affairs

Zeinab El-Gundy , Thursday 14 May 2020
GERD
The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (photo: Reuters)
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Sudanese Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Omar Qamar El-Din has said that Sudan has more fears than hopes concerning the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

In an interview with Russian news agency Sputnik on Thursday, the official said that although Sudan would benefit from the dam, there were still fears around the project.

“Our fears overwhelm our hopes, and that’s why we have talks with our brothers in Egypt and Ethiopia to reduce those fears and raise our hopes,” Qamar El-Din told Sputnik.

“There is always danger that the dam could collapse, even if it is a small danger or probability; humans did not create this universe and any man-made thing is subject to even a small probability of collapse,” the Sudanese minister said.

On the other hand, the GERD will supply sustainable electricity to Sudan, and there is a partnership with Ethiopia that will benefit the agricultural and mineral production of both countries the minister said, and said that the dam will stabilise the flow of the Nile to Sudan.

“We do not fully benefit from our water share,” he said, adding that Sudanese experts in irrigation and agriculture have said the fluctuation in the level of the Nile can affect irrigation in Sudan.

Negotiations between the three countries which were hosted in Washington broke down earlier this year and an agreement drafted by the US on the key issues in the operation of the dam and the filling of its reservoir was not signed by Sudan or Ethiopia. Egypt did initial the deal.

“We see that the main problem in the GERD issue is the failure to reach an agreement on the filing of the dam,” Qamar El-Din stated, adding that there is a disagreement about the dam’s operations in times of drought, both seasonal drought and prolonged drought.

“Sudan is not a mediator between Egypt and Ethiopia; Sudan is a main party in this issue we because we are a downstream country,” he added.

On Tuesday, Sudan said it rejects any partial agreement over the beginning of the filling of the controversial mega-dam in July, in a letter sent by the country’s prime minister to the Ethiopian premier.

Cairo has sent a letter to the United Nations Security Council blaming Ethiopia for trying to establish a deal without taking the interests of downstream countries into consideration. 

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