Sudan tells Washington all parties must participate in Nile dam talks

Ahram Online , Friday 28 Feb 2020

Ethiopia said it would not attend the current round of US and World Bank-sponsored talks on the GERD which started on Thursday

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File Photo: The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam is seen as it undergoes construction work on the river Nile in Guba Woreda, Benishangul Gumuz Region, Ethiopia, Sept. 26, 2019.(Photo: Reuters)

During a meeting with US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in Washington on Thursday, Sudan's foreign and irrigation ministers stressed Khartoum's stance that all involved parties must attend Nile Dam negations to reach an agreement on the filling and operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), Sudan News Agency reported.

Ethiopia previously announced it would withdraw from the current round of US and World Bank-sponsored talks on the dam, which started on Thursday and will conclude on Friday in Washington.

The Ethiopian irrigation ministry said on Wednesday that Addis Ababa will not take part in talks with Egypt and Sudan scheduled for Thursday as it "has not completed its discussions with domestic stakeholders" on the dam. It said it had briefed the US Treasury about the decision.

Ethiopian Ambassador to the US Fitsum Arega also said his country "will not sign any agreement that will give up its right to use the Nile."

Later on Wednesday, the Egyptian foreign ministry said that Cairo "is committed to the course of negotiations sponsored by the US and the World Bank," affirming that Egypt's foreign and water ministers will take part in this week's talks, which are intended to put the final touches on a deal on the filling and operation of the 6,000-megawatt hydropower dam.

"Egypt's participation in the meeting is in line with the Egyptian approach, which reflects goodwill and a sincere desire to reach a final agreement on the filling and operation of the dam," the statement added.

The foreign and irrigation ministers from Egypt and Sudan are in Washington to take part in the current round of talks.

Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan said in January that they would sign an agreement by the end of this month to iron out differences on the filling and operation of the mega-dam.

Sudanese Irrigation Minister Yasser Abbas said earlier this week that the three regional powers had received a draft deal prepared by the US Treasury.

The three countries agreed last month on a schedule for the stages of filling of the dam and mitigation mechanisms to adjust its filling and operation during dry periods and drought. Details about other aspects are yet to be finalised.

Ethiopia hopes the project will help it become the continent's biggest power exporter, but Egypt fears that the dam will diminish its water supply from the Nile.

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