Sudan urges reaching agreement guaranteeing safety of Roseires Dam

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Tue, 04 Aug 2020 - 08:08 GMT

Roseires Dam – Wikimedia Commons

Roseires Dam – Wikimedia Commons

CAIRO – 4 August 2020: In the ministerial meeting held Monday to regulate the resumption of negotiations on the operation and reservoir's filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), Sudan urged reaching an agreement that ensures the safety of Roseires Dam.

 

If the volume of water arriving from the Blue Nile decreases, particularly in time of drought, the turbines of the Roseires Dam will be damaged. Also, increased pressure on the dam due to the release of an amount of water that was held in GERD and that surpasses its capacity at once can cause its collapse.

 

Roseires Dam was built over three phases starting 1952. The capacity of the dam evolved from one billion cubic meters to 7.4 billion cubic meters providing 1,800 megawatts of electricity and securing water for irrigation, according to The Independent Arabia.

 

Sudanese Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources Yasser Abas asserted the seamless exchange of information between Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan on the GERD operation.

 

The minister underlined that Ethiopia's unilateral act of filling the GERD's reservoir evokes fears about the repetition of such moves in the future regardless of the environmental and social impact on farmers cultivating lands on the Blue Nile banks.

 

Abbas welcomed the solutions proposed in the report submitted by the experts of the African Union Commission (AUC) saying they can constitute the ground for achieving an agreement that satisfies the three states.

 

The Sudanese minister demanded that the ongoing round of negotiations taking place over two weeks would be decisive by determining a precise agenda and granting international observers a bigger role in mediation.

 

Abas stressed that the focus must be on "pending points" so as no new points are introduced in order to reach a binding agreement including an agreement on future projects that may be constructed on the Blue Nile.

 

In July, Ethiopia held around 4 billion cubic meters in the GERD reservoir, whose capacity is 75 cubic meters. Ethiopia wants to fill the reservoir in 3 years while Egypt targets 7-10 years.

 

Based upon the outcomes of the African Union (AU) mini-summit held on July 21, the second meeting of the second round of negotiations took place Monday, Egyptian Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources Mohamed Abdel Aty stated.

 

In Monday's meeting, the ministers of the three states agreed that each of the technical and legal committees convenes simultaneously to discuss the points of disagreement on August 4-5. The outcomes of such discussions will be presented in the ministerial meeting taking place on August 6. 

 

The new negotiations round on GERD encompasses the representatives of Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia as well as the observers of the United States and the European Union, and the experts of the African Union Commission (AUC).

 

The negotiations are a bid to reach a binding agreement on the operation of the dam and the filling of the reservoir, including in times of drought and severe drought.

 

Egypt has been underlining the negative impact of Ethiopia's desire to make decisions unilaterally on the dam's operation and filling.

 

The Egyptian Ministry of Irrigation and Land Reclamation released a statement Monday to object the unilateral act done by Ethiopia, which is filling the reservoir of the GERD without reaching an agreement with the downstream countries, Egypt and Sudan.

 

The statement – issued the same day a new negotiations round is starting - pointed out that such act reflects negative indicators showing that Ethiopia has no desire to achieve a fair agreement that aligns with the 2015 Declaration of Principles.

Declaration of Principles on Renaissance Dam is 'exclusive agreement' binding Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan together: intl. law expert

CAIRO - 23 June 2020: In an interview with AP earlier this week, Egypt's Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shokry said that if Ethiopia fills the Renaissance Dam reservoir in July - as it had announced before - without reaching an accord with Egypt and Sudan, it will be breaching the 2015 Declaration of Principles signed by the three states, and that the resumption of negotiations will be ruled out.

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