In letter to UN: Sudan says ‘deeply concerned’ of Ethiopia’s unilateral filling of GERD

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Thu, 25 Jun 2020 - 10:46 GMT

Sudan’s Foreign Minister Asmaa Mohammed Abdallah  - File

Sudan’s Foreign Minister Asmaa Mohammed Abdallah - File

CAIRO – 25 June 2020: In a letter to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on Wednesday, Sudan expressed its deep concern regarding Ethiopia’s decision to start filling the Reniassance Dam without reaching an agreement with the downstream countries Egypt and Sudan.

The letter, by Sudan’s Foreign Minister Asmaa Mohammed Abdallah, warned that the “unilateral filling of GERD put operation of Roseires dam, and hence the lives of millions of people living downstream at a very high risk.

"Sudan is deeply concerned about Ethiopia decision to start filling the GERD reservoir in the absence of an agreement" read the letter.

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Screenshot of Sudan's letter to UNSC over Ethiopia's unilateral filling of GERD


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Screenshot of Sudan's letter to UNSC over Ethiopia's unilateral filling of GERD


Screen Shot 2020-06-25 at 12.47.37 PM
Screenshot of Sudan's letter to UNSC over Ethiopia's unilateral filling of GERD



In the letter, Sudan requested the Security Council to consider:

1- Calling upon the leaders of the three countries to demonstrate their political will and commitment by resolving the few remaining issues, and conclude an agreement.

2- Calling upon the parties to adopt the comprehensive draft Sudan has submitted as the basis for finalizing an agreement.


3- Discouraging all parties from unilateral actions including starting the filling of the reservoir before reaching an agreement.

“Sudan believes that the window for reaching an agreement is closing by the hour. Let us all work very hard to mark a historic moment in the Nile region, and turn GERD into a trigger for cooperation instead of a cause for conflict and instability,” read the letter.

Sudanese FM Abdullah asserted earlier this week Sudan’s rejection to any unilateral move and any Ethiopian decision to start filling the dam without the approval of the downstream countries of Egypt and Sudan.

She appreciated the roles played by South Africa, United States, and the European Union through all the phases of the negotiations, wishing for more efforts to bridge the gaps between the three countries in order to reach an agreement on GERD.

She further said that Sudan is keen to protect its national interest as per the principals of the international law and cooperation and dialogue methods.


Sudan addressing UN

In a Wednesday press conference, Sudanese Minister of Water and Irrigation Yasser Abbas said that his country is studying submitting a letter to the United Nations Security Council to clarify its stance regarding the Renaissance Dam. “We believe that all countries have the right to address the Security Council. It is a legitimate right for all.”

“Despite we believe that negotiations are the best way to reach a fair and just solution regarding GERD, all countries have the right to address the UN Security Council, the African Union or any other international entity,” Abbas added.

Abbas stated that halting GERD negotiations was not due to certain articles, but rather because of consultations at the level of heads of state.

“It was obvious that disputes were related to three main legal points: The agreement’s obligation, the dispute resolution mechanism, and if it is concerned with water-sharing or only filling and operating,” Abbas explained. “Therefore, Sudan expects the resumption of negotiations any time after solving these three points between the negotiating parties.”


Egypt: Ready to negotiate if good intentions proven

Egyptian Minister of Irrigation Mohamed Abdel Atti said that Egypt has not reached an agreement regarding the legal side of the GERD crisis, while the technical side is still under negotiations.

“We will come back to negotiations table if we found good intentions to reach an agreement,” Abdel Atti added.

He said that Egypt is the largest dry country in the world, and relies on the Nile River by 97 percent of its water resources.

Egypt called Friday the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), to intervene in the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam issue, asserting the importance on continuing the negations between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan in order to reach a fair and just solution for all three countries.

In a Friday statement, Egypt’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs stressed the need to prevent any unilateral measures that might affect the chances of reaching a balanced agreement.

Egypt's request to the Security Council was based on Article 35 of the United Nations Charter, which allows member states to alert the Council to any update that might threaten the international peace and security; the statement read.

"The responsibility of the Security Council is to address a pertinent threat to international peace and security, and certainly the unilateral actions by Ethiopia in this regard would constitute such a threat," Minister Shoukry clarified.

It was further explained that this move was taken in light of the ‘stalled negotiations’ that took place recently on the GERD through several negotiations over the past period.

Among these talks were many tripartite negotiations and the talks that were held in Washington with the mediation of the United States and the World Bank, which resulted in reaching a balanced agreement for all three countries; however, it was rejected by Ethiopia.

And Finally, the most recent talks that was arranged by Sudan, but still all efforts gone in vain due to ‘Ethiopia’s lack of political will, and its insistence on continuing to fill the Dam unilaterally in violation of the Declaration of Principles Agreement signed by the three countries on March 23, 2015’; the statement added.

Egypt has reaffirmed, in the statement, its eagerness to reach an agreement that meets the interests of the three countries.


Additional reporting by Nourhan Magdi and Aya Samir

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