Sudan suggests political solution to dam dispute

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Sudan on Wednesday proposed that the Heads of State of Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt directly handle the spat over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) to provide a lasting political solution.

A member of the Sudanese Legal Committee in the GERD negotiations, Hisham Kahin said Addis Ababa had withdrawn its commitment to some of the legal aspects earlier agreed upon, “leaving a solution to the spat uncertain.”

“Ethiopia retracted its legal commitment and converted it to non-binding guidelines that could be modified, and this is considered dangerous and affects the agreement,” Hisham said in Khartoum.

This, officials in Khartoum argue, could take back “some gains made in earlier agreements.”

Resumption of talks

Sudan has been proposing the resumption of talks over the filling of what will be Africa’s largest hydropower station, even though Ethiopia said it would start refilling the reservoir from next month.

Conceptual differences
A statement issued by the Sudanese Ministry of Irrigation said there had been “conceptual differences” between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan on a number of issues related to the Renaissance Dam.

Sudanese Minister for Irrigation and Water Resources Yasir Abbas said Khartoum stands for fair and reasonable use of the water without harming other countries.

World’s longest river
The Nile, the world’s longest river, is a lifeline to communities in Sudan and Egypt. But Ethiopia, which is the source of more than 80 per cent of the water, has argued it retains sovereign right to utilise the resources.

Egypt and Sudan fear the dam reservoir would reduce the amount of water reaching the two countries.

Meanwhile, previous discussions facilitated by the US Treasury and the World Bank yielded no deal.

Washington put forward a draft agreement which Cairo signed, but Ethiopia and Sudan refused signing.

 

Olajumoke Adeleke

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