Sudan’s Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources Yasser Abbas has warned Ethiopia against starting the second phase of filling the reservoir at the latter’s controversial dam on the Blue Nile without consensus with the stakeholders.
Abbas said that filling without agreement with the other parties involved in the negotiations on the disputed points threatens the safety of Sudanese citizens who live on the banks of the Blue Nile River.
The minister’s remarks came, on Monday, during a meeting with the Head of the European Union (EU) mission to Sudan, Robert van den Dool, and his deputy Daniel Weiss.
According to Sudan’s state-run news agency SUNA, Abbas provided an explanation on the progress of the negotiations between Sudan, Egypt, and Ethiopia on the disputed points related to the dam’s filling and operation.
He also briefed the European diplomats on the proposals submitted by Sudan, which will allow African Union (AU) experts to take on a larger role in the ongoing talks.
The three parties involved in the controversial dam’s dispute have held several meetings hoping for an agreement on the disputed technical and legal points, but have so far failed to do so. In January, the three parties held their latest round of online meetings, but failed to reach consensus on a new negotiation mechanism.
Sudan insisted on the need for mandating experts designated by the AU to propose solutions to the contentious issues, and to elaborate the GERD agreement. Both Egypt and Ethiopia have rejected the Sudanese proposal.
The first filling of the 145-metre-tall dam’s reservoir began in July. At that time, Addis Ababa claimed the filling was accidental due to the heavy rains that tend to occur around this time every year.
Both Egypt and Sudan fear the consequences related to the filling and operation of the $4.6bn mega-dam, as it may restrict their vital water supplies.