Tripartite talks on Nile dam postponed

Sudan has announced the postponement of tripartite talks on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), also known as the Blue Nile dam, for a week over further consultations to regulate the flow of water from the massive project.

“The talks on filling and operation of the GERD were resumed on Monday afternoon at the invitation of South Africa, the current chair of the African Union (AU),” the country’s Irrigation and Water Resources Ministry said on Monday.

“The talks have been postponed upon Sudan’s request to conduct further consultations.

“During the session of talks, the Sudanese Irrigation and Water Resources Minister Yasir Abbas voiced Sudan’s reservation over Ethiopia’s unilateral measure of starting the first filling of the dam before reaching a binding agreement among the three countries,” Xinhua news agency quoted the Ministry as saying.

Abbas regarded the Ethiopian move as “a harmful and worrying precedent in the path of cooperation between the concerned countries”.

He urged for setting up specific and clear agenda for the entire period of the talks upon which it was agreed to be two weeks in addition to the need for putting clear protocols for exchange of information and reports between all parties, it noted.

A mini-African summit was convened on July 21 through video link, where the parties agreed to continue talks to narrow viewpoints.

Ethiopia, which started building the 4-billion-dollar GERD in 2011, expects to produce over 6,000 megawatts of electricity to push the development in the country forward.

Meanwhile, Egypt, a downstream Nile Basin country that relies on the river for its fresh water, is concerned that the dam might affect its 55.5-billion-cubic-meter annual share of the water resources.