A file photo of Water flowing through GERD as it undergoes construction works (photo: Reuters)
Sudan's Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources Yasser Abbas has voiced in a message to South Africa on Thursday Khartoum's concerns on Ethiopian announcment that Addis Ababa would go ahead with the second filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) in the summer of 2021.
In the statement published by the Sudanese news agency (SUNA), Abbas expressed "his grave concern over the announcement by the Ethiopian minister of irrigation and electricity of his country's intention to proceed with the implementation of the filling for the second year with 13.5 billion cubic metres of water next July without prior notification and without signing an agreement or an exchange of information on the impact of the filling on Sudan's Roseiers Dam."
According to Abbas, the second filling would be "a direct threat to the Roseiers Dam and to the lives of the inhabitants on the banks of the Nile."
The Sudanese minister has also confirmed that the first filling (5 billion cubic metres of water) caused substantial problems in the water stations in Khartoum.
Both Egypt and Sudan have rejected the unilateral decision by Ethiopia to complete the first filling of the dam without returning back to both countries or reaching a final legal binding agreement on the filling and operating of the dam.
Sudan has been vocal in insisting that the GERD represents a direct threat to its Roseiers Dam.
Nevertheless, Abbas affirmed Sudan’s commitment to continue negotiations on the GERD under the auspices of the African Union (AU) at any time in the event that the methodology used in the negotiations is amended by giving a greater role to experts.
Sudan has pulled out of the latest round of GERD talks after saying it was 'surprised' that the AU has called for the resumption of tripartite negotiations without heeding Khartoum's demands for holding bilateral meetings between the experts and each of the three countries separately to discuss and identify points of difference.
"Sudan cannot bear endless negotiations that do not result in worthy results and solutions," Abbas said.
However, he asserted Sudan's commitment to the initiative of the AU, saying Khartoum awaits the scheduling of bilateral meetings between experts and observers and each country separately before a scheduled 10 January tripartite ministerial meeting.