2nd phase of GERD filling without deal to have ‘disastrous impact’ on Sudan: PM Hamdok

Amr Kandil , Sunday 7 Feb 2021

Hamdok warned that further filling of the massive dam’s reservoir without a deal will especially impact 20 million Sudanese citizens living on the banks of the Blue Nile

In this Aug. 21, 2019, file photo, Sudan's new Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok speaks during a press conference in Khartoum, Sudan (Photo: AP)

Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok warned that the planned second filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) without a legal binding agreement with Egypt and Sudan would have a “disastrous impact” on Sudan.

Hamdoks remarks came as he met on Sunday with Pekka Haavisto, special European envoy and Finnish foreign minister, to discuss the GERD file and tensions on the Sudanese-Ethiopian borders, a statement by the Sudanese cabinet read.

“Ethiopias plan to [execute] the second phase of the Renaissance Dam filling in July without an agreement among parties within the framework of international law, which ensures the safety of the [dams] operation and the exchange of information, would have a disastrous impact on Sudan,” the statement cited Hamdok as saying.

The Sudanese PM also warned that further filling of the massive dams reservoir without a deal will especially impact 20 million Sudanese citizens living on the banks of the Blue Nile, the statement read.

“Sudan demands that the dam be established on the basis of international law, which preserves the rights of all parties and [ensures] that no party gets affected,” the statement cited Hamdok as saying.

Multiple rounds of negotiations between the three countries to reach a binding deal on the filling and operation of the dam ended in deadlock.

Egypt has complained that Ethiopia is acting unilaterally and intransigently in the GERD dispute. Egypts President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi on Saturday has reiterated the importance of reaching a binding deal on the GERD, under the supervision of the AU, before the second filling of the dam.

Sudan has twice withdrawn from the AU-mediated talks on the GERD, viewing the current approach of negotiations as fruitless. Sudans Irrigation Minister, Yasser Abbas, has presented to Haavisto on Monday a Sudanese proposal to expand the mediation umbrella in the GERD negotiations so that it includes the United Nations.

Hamdok reviewed with Haavisto the issue of armed clashes taking place along the Sudanese-Ethiopian border, reiterating that Sudan would not engage in a war against Ethiopia.

“Hamdok affirmed Sudans fixed stance that it does not intend to go in a war with neighbouring Ethiopia in terms of the borders issue given that the issue has been settled since the 1902 agreements,” the statement added.

Ethiopia and Great Britain, which colonized Sudan at the time, signed the 1902 agreement to draw up the frontier. The agreement, however, lacked clear demarcation lines.

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