Sudanese Irrigation and Water Resources Minister Yasir Abbas on Wednesday reiterated the importance of reaching an official agreement on the controversial Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), reported Xinhuanet.
“Sudan will benefit from the GERD in terms of generating electricity and reducing silt and floods, but only on the condition that there is a binding tripartite agreement,” Abbas said during a press conference in the capital Khartoum.
The Sudanese minister also urged changing the negotiating method.
“Sudan is not ready to enter into talks with Ethiopia in the same previous way because it means buying time,” Abbas said.
The Sudanese government wants to involve an international quartet in the GERD negotiation talks to enhance the role of the African Union (AU) in resolving the dispute. The international quartet includes the AU, the European Union, the United Nations, and the United States. Ethiopia, however, continues to reject Sudan’s proposal of a mediation quartet to resolve the issue.
Abbas added that the agreement on the GERD dam must be finalized so that the Sudanese government could operate the Al-Rusaires Dam safely.
Last week, the Ethiopian government announced that it had completed the second filling of the dam and it planned to start electricity production from the dam in the coming months.
The dam constructed on the Nile River is the source of a long diplomatic standoff between Ethiopia, Egypt, and Sudan. The three countries have had several rounds of talks over the technical and legal issues related to the filling and operation of the dam.
Ethiopia, which started constructing the GERD in 2011, expects to produce over 6,000 megawatts of electricity from the dam project, while the two downstream Nile Basin countries, Egypt and Sudan that rely on the Nile for freshwater requirement, are concerned that the dam might affect their share of the water resources.