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HomeEthiopian NewsSudan's position on GERD after Cairo meeting: Unilateral filling National Security Threat

Sudan’s position on GERD after Cairo meeting: Unilateral filling National Security Threat

Sudanese Prime Minister Abdella Hamdok position on GERD seems to have transformed after latest visit to Cairo. There is now a claim that what Sudan , and Egypt too, call “unilateral fillingwill constitute national security threat to Sudan.

Sudan _ Hamdok _ GERD _ Ethiopia
Abdella Hamdok with PM Abiy Ahmed during his last visit to Ethiopia in December 2020 (Photo : ENA)

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As Ethiopia is reviewing National Energy Policy with the aim to  ensure “access to energy for all in light of growing demands for it, Sudan and Egypt held another consultation in Cairo seemingly on how to stop Ethiopia from using its share of the water from Abbay River (which is known internationally as the Nile). 

Sudan has already made incursions into the Ethiopian territories occupying tracts of land following Ethiopia’s law enforcement operation in the  Tigray region of Ethiopia.

On Thursday, Sudanese Prime Minister Abdella Hamdok was in Cairo for an official working visit which happened less than a week after Egyptian President visited Khartoum where he faced a popular protest and had to return to Cairo hours after his arrival.  The visit also came less than two weeks after Egypt and Sudan signed a deal on military cooperation. 

Apparently, Ethiopia was the focal point in the meeting between the two countries. After the meeting with Egyptian authorities, the Sudanese government came up with a position that  ” any unilateral filling of the GERD represents a direct threat to its national security,” as cited in a report by the Sudan Tribune.  Implied in it is that Ethiopia needs to have the blessings of Sudan and Egypt to use its share of the water. 

With growing demands for energy, Ethiopia is looking for a means to boost energy supply. The second round of filling of the GERD, which is expected to happen during the rainy months of July and August,  is scheduled with the aim to start generating hydroelectric  power with two of the turbines. 

Ethiopia had been giving assurance that it only seeks to pursue the project of generating hydroelectric power from the GERD without harming the water shares of the lower riparian country.  Throughout ages, Ethiopia did not benefit from the river 85 percent of which originates from the Ethiopian highlands. It means that Ethiopia’s share of the water in terms of utilization was zero. 

According to a report by the Sudan Tribune, Abdella Hamdok “stressed that Sudan and Egypt agree on the need to reach an understanding that allows the Renaissance Dam to achieve the interests of the peoples of the three riparian countries.”   GERD is a locally funded project whose major goal is to make energy available to 65 percent of Ethiopia’s growing population – the part of the population that does not have access to electricity. 

Sudan, the actor who had been in the GERD negotiation for nearly a decade as a constructive partner, now seems to be adopting Egyptian position on the filling and operation of the Dam. Egypt goes to the extent claiming to have an office in Ethiopia to monitor the operation of the GERD – something Ethiopia found to be in violation of its sovereignty. 

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