File Photo: Sudan's Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok speaks to reporters at the armed forces general command in the capital Khartoum taken on April 26, 2021. AFP
Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok reiterated on Wednesday his country’s stance concerning the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), rejecting any unilateral and ill-considered action taken by Ethiopia in this regard.
During his meeting with United Nations’ Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo, Hamdok said that Khartoum does not oppose the idea of building the GERD, but rejects the unilateral actions taken by Addis Ababa on such a critical issue.
Sudan is looking forward to securing a legally binding agreement ahead of the completion of the GERD’s construction and filling, he said.
Tensions between Sudan, Egypt, and Ethiopia were aggravated earlier this month after Ethiopia informed Egypt and Sudan that it had started the second phase of filling the dam’s reservoir, a step that the two downstream countries have condemned.
Ethiopia said a few days later that it completed the second filling of the dam’s reservoir.
Egypt and Sudan have been calling for a binding deal on the filling and operation of the dam that would preserve their water rights and protect their people against potentially significant harm.
Their demand has been met with Ethiopian resistance, leading rounds of African Union-sponsored talks to collapse and causing Egypt and Sudan to resort to the United Nations Security Council earlier this month.
Sudan’s Irrigation Minister Yasser Abbas also said on Wednesday that his country “is not ready” to participate in the GERD negotiations under the same methodology adopted in previous talks, which Abbas described as “a waste of time.”
“Our demand is still to involve an international quartet in the talks to boost the [mediating] role of the African Union,” Abbas said during a press conference on Wednesday.
Hamdok's meeting with DiCarlo also touched on the current Tigray war and the Sudanese-Ethiopian border crisis, as Hamdok stressed the importance of neighbouring countries' stability, especially Eritrea and Ethiopia, pointing out that Khartoum could play a role in making peace between both countries and South Sudan.
For her part, DiCarlo urged Hmadok to partake in the UN General Assembly talks that are due to be held in September.