Sudan, Egypt reiterate necessity to reach deal on Nile dam

Sudan and Egypt have reiterated the necessity to reach a binding agreement regarding the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on the Nile River with commitment to negotiations to resolve the dispute.

“It has been stressed on the necessity of the negotiations to reach a binding agreement in a manner that preserves the interests of the three countries according to the Declaration of Principles signed in 2015,” said a joint statement issued after talks between Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and his Egyptian counterpart Mostafa Madbouly in Khartoum on Saturday.

“It has also been on the necessity of reaching a conflict resolution mechanism and a coordination mechanism among the three countries on the filling and operation of the GERD,” Xinhua news agency quoted the statement as saying.

The two countries stressed the importance not to adopt any unilateral measures before reaching the binding deal on the filling and operation of the GERD.

Saturday’s development came after Egypt on August 4 reiterated its rejection against any “unilateral move” by Ethiopia to fill the reservoir of the dam without reaching an agreement with the downstream countries.

Ethiopia in mid-July started filling some four billion cubic meters of water in the reservoir whose capacity is 75 billion cubic meters.

On July 25, Egypt stated that the first filling of the $4 billion dam wouldn’t harm the country’s share of the Nile resources.

However, Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia’s controversial points of discussion over the past 10 years have been inflamed by the Ethiopian desire to fill the reservoir in only three years while the other two countries target the filling in seven to ten years to avoid the implications of the time of severe drought.

The massive dam is expected to produce over 6,000 megawatts of electricity and become Africa’s largest hydropower dam upon completion.

Ethiopia started building the dam in 2011, while Egypt, a downstream Nile Basin country that relies on the river for its freshwater, is concerned that the dam might affect its 55.5-billion-cubic-meter annual share of the water resources.