Sudan: Millions in danger if Ethiopia fills mega dam with out deal


Sudan has despatched a letter to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) warning the lives of tens of millions of individuals will probably be endangered if Ethiopia strikes forward with its plan to fill a reservoir on the Blue Nile earlier than an settlement has been reached.

Ethiopia’s unilateral motion would “compromise the safety of Sudan’s Roseires Dam and thus subject millions of people living downstream to great risk”, Sudan’s water ministry mentioned in a press release on Thursday, including it had despatched a letter to the UN physique.

Tensions have been operating excessive between the 2 nations and Egypt after current talks failed to provide a deal on the filling and operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), a large hydroelectric undertaking constructed near Ethiopia’s border with Sudan and the centrepiece in Addis Ababa’s bid to develop into Africa’s greatest energy exporter.

Egypt, which is almost totally depending on the Nile for its freshwater provides, is anxious to safe a legally binding deal that might assure minimal flows and a mechanism for resolving disputes earlier than the dam begins working.

Al Jazeera’s Hiba Morgan, reporting from Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, mentioned nearly all technical points have been resolved after a number of rounds of on-and-off negotiations.

Yet, authorized points stay unresolved, together with whether or not the settlement will probably be binding beneath worldwide legislation. During the newest spherical of talks final week, Sudanese negotiator Hisham Abdalla mentioned Ethiopia had steered “the deal to be a guiding one that could be modified or cancelled”, including that this was “a very serious situation”.

Sudan desires to make sure water releases from the Blue Nile dam to be coordinated with water ranges at its Roseires Dam, some 100km (62 miles) from the GERD.

Addis Ababa stays undeterred from beginning to fill the dam on the Blue Nile subsequent month no matter a deal being reached.

“It seems like the political will is not equally shared between the three sides and that is why they cannot come back together to the negotiating table to resume talks,” Morgan mentioned.

Ethiopian Minister for Foreign Affairs Gedu Andargachew (R)

Ethiopian Minister for Foreign Affairs Gedu Andargachew, proper, provides a information convention collectively with Ethiopia’s Minister of Water, Irrigation and Energy Seleshi Bekele the place they accused the US of being ;undiplomatic’ in its push to resolve a dispute over a large dam on the Nile River [Michael/Tewelde/AFP]

On Sunday, Sudan’s Water Resources Minister Yasser Abbas mentioned it was necessary Ethiopia shared details about water equipped from the dam, in any other case “we will not know the amount of water discharged from the Renaissance Dam, which might cause flooding and the Roseires dam itself will be at risk” of being overwhelmed.

The ministry warned the remaining time for the nations to agree is “tight and critical”. 

It additionally urged the us to “invite leaders of the three countries to show political will and commitment to resolve the few remaining issues”. Khartoum lately proposed breaking the persevering with impasse by elevating the standing of the talks to prime ministerial stage.

Cairo, which views the hydroelectric barrage as an existential risk, itself appealed on Friday
for the us to intervene within the dispute, citing Addis Ababa’s “non-positive stances”.

Egypt fears the dam would severely reduce its Nile water provide, which supplies nearly 97 % of the nation’s freshwater wants.

Ethiopia, from its facet, says the undertaking is indispensable for its improvement, and insists downstream nations’ water provide will probably be unaffected.

SOURCE: Al Jazeera and information companies