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Sudan,Ethiopia water ministers held discussion

Major Outstanding items of GERD talk were among points discussed virtually between delegates from Sudan and Ethiopia

Sudan _ Ethiopia _ Dam
Ethiopian Dam (GERD). Photo source : ENA

June 3, 2020

The water ministers of Sudan and Ethiopia on Wednesday held a virtual discussion on ways of resuming the tripartite talks.

Seleshi Bekele (Ethiopia’s Water, Irrigation and Energy Minister) and Yassir Abbas Mohammed (Sudanese counterpart), and their delegates discussed issues pertaining to the timing and ethical matters for the upcoming ( time frame yet to be announced) negotiations on the filling and operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.

The two parties have also exchanged views on major outstanding issues, Ethiopia’s Water, Irrigation and Energy Minister has disclosed.

Their discussion came at a time when Sudan sent a letter for the United Nations Security Council pleading an intervention to stop Ethiopia from starting to fill the dam before an agreement is reached with lower riparian countries.  A few weeks ago, Egypt, too, sent a letter of complaint to the UN security council to which Ethiopia sent a reply letter.

Ethiopia plans to start filling 4.9 million cubic meters of water starting the month of July. In so doing, says Ethiopia, no international law will be violated.

While 86 percent of the Nile Water originates from Ethiopia, no water from the Nile has been used either for generating electric power or agricultural purposes.

Egypt has a “historical right” claim over the Nile which means that, according to Egypt, Ethiopia must accept a colonial-era negotiation to which it was not a signatory.

Ethiopia argues that the Nile water must be used equitably without harming the water needs of the lower riparian countries.

The US-brokered negation between the three countries failed in February as Ethiopia disagreed with a proposal on the filling and operation of the dam that gave more power for Egypt.

Another point that Ethiopia argues is that the negotiation must be entirely about GERD and discussions about the Nile water should involve all Nile riparian countries which are about eleven.

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