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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

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    Sudanese, Ethiopian Officials Discuss GERD in Khartoum

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    Sudan and Ethiopia launched new talks on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) a few days after Addis Ababa began generating electricity from the disputed dam between the three basin countries without referring to Egypt and Sudan.
    A meeting was held at the Sudanese Foreign Ministry between the Minister of Irrigation in charge of Daw Albait Abdulrahman and the Ethiopian ambassador in Khartoum, Yibeltal Aemero, and several ministry representatives.Sudan Tribune reported that the meeting addressed the bilateral relations and recent GERD developments.

    Abdulrahman reiterated his country’s refusal to withhold information on the filling and operation of the GERD.

    He informed the Ethiopian ambassador that his country’s participation in all rounds of negotiations was aimed at reaching an agreement that considers the interests of the three countries.

    Abdulrahman asserted that Sudan’s position is based on international law and the Declaration of Principles (DoP), which preserves Ethiopia’s right to development without harming Sudan and the interests of its people.

    On Feb 20, Ethiopia officially inaugurated electricity production from the GERD on the Blue Nile, which Sudan and Egypt reject.

    Cairo and Khartoum also accuse Ethiopia of violating the DoP signed between the three heads of state in 2015.

    In this regard, Ethiopian foreign ministry spokesman Dina Mufti says the agreement the three countries signed doesn’t inhibit Addis Ababa from generating electricity from the mega-dam.

    “The commencement of power generation is also a part of the dam’s construction,” he explained, adding that the DoP declares ways to reach an agreement and not to stop construction.

    Also, the Sudanese Foreign Ministry said the Ethiopian ambassador stressed the importance of bilateral relations between the two countries and the need to activate it, explaining his country’s understanding of Sudan’s concerns.

    He expressed Ethiopia’s keenness not to harm Sudan with the filling and operating the dam, hoping for the resumption of negotiations between the three countries to reach a fair agreement.

    Aemero praised Sudan’s positive stance during the past negotiations and its earnest efforts to reach a binding deal between the three parties.

    The Declaration of Principles consists of ten articles. The fifth article relates to the dam’s storage reservoir first filling and operation policies. It calls for an agreement on the annual operation policies and the guidelines for different scenarios of the first filling of the Dam reservoir in parallel with the dam’s construction.

    Khartoum and Cairo base their argument on this article, saying Ethiopia’s unilateral actions violate international law and the DoP.

    Negotiations between the three countries have been hampered since April 2020 against the background of Sudan and Egypt’s requirement to sign a binding legal agreement related to filling and operating the dam.

    However, Addis Ababa refused an agreement and proceeded to fill the dam’s lake unilaterally without informing Khartoum and Cairo, which led to drought in Sudan followed by a flood.

    Ethiopia continued to take unilateral decisions and started generating electricity from the dam.

    The last round of negotiations headed by Congo, which was chairing the African Union, collapsed after Khartoum requested international mediation, which Cairo accepted and Addis Ababa rejected.

    Source Asharq Al Awsat

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