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Sudan says its Open for Interim Deal ahead of Second Filling of Ethiopian Dam

ADDIS ABABA – Sudan said on Monday it is open to a partial interim agreement on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on the Blue Nile, with specific conditions.

The call from Khartoum came a couple of weeks ahead of the start of the second filling of the dam’s reservoir which is scheduled for July/August Ethiopian rainy season.

Sudan and Egypt were recently engaged in a coordinated efforts to press Ethiopia to negotiate on an agreement on filling and operating the GERD after declining Ethiopia’s formal invitation to nominate focal persons for the filling process to expedite appropriate information exchange arrangements and confidence-building measures.



According to Reuters news agency, Cairo and Khartoum had been aligned on the need for any agreement to be comprehensive, but Sudan’s latest request mark a potential shift in its position.

“[The] conditions include the signing-off of everything that has already been agreed on in negotiations, … provisions to ensure that the talks continue even after the filling scheduled for July, and the negotiations adhering to a definite timetable,”  Reuters qouted Sudan’s Irrigation Minister Yasir Abbas as saying during a press briefing, citing a time crunch.

Ethiopia sees the dam as necessary for its drive to industrialize, and as a symbol of national pride: the money for its construction was contributed by small donations from the population.

Egypt fears it will imperil its water supply while Sudan is concerned about the impact on its own water flows.

Talks overseen by the African Union, aimed at reaching a binding agreement, have repeatedly stalled.

The largest hydro-power dam project in Africa, which is now 80% complete, will be operational by its revised deadline of 2023. 

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