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Sudan calls on Ethiopia to close GERD deal

Sudanese Minister of Culture and Information Faisal Saleh has expressed concern over the second filling of Ethiopia’s Great Renaissance Dam (GERD)Al-Arabiya news reported .

The dam cannot be brought into operation until Cairo, Khartoum and Addis Ababa reach a binding agreement, he said. This is a legally confirmed document that will allow three parties to regulate the water level in the bed of the Blue Nile River.

Faisal Saleh expressed concern about Sudan amid Ethiopia’s unwavering commitment to begin the second filling of the dam in July this year, despite the lack of agreement.

“We do not agree with the imposition of a fait accompli. The Khartoum authorities are ready to give an appropriate rebuff in case of arbitrariness of Addis Ababa,” the head of the Ministry of Culture and Information said.

Sudanese Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok met last week with the country’s GERD High Monitoring Committee, where he said it is unacceptable to risk the safety of the 20 million citizens whose lives depend on the Blue Nile.

Recall that in the summer of 2020, Ethiopia announced the successful filling of the Renaissance Dam (4.9 billion cubic meters) during the rainy season.

A few days later, Sudan recorded a decrease in the water level in the Blue Nile, coming from Ethiopia. This has sparked disputes between countries, including Egypt, lasting more than half a year.

The Sudanese-Ethiopian relations have been witnessing an escalating tension for weeks due to armed attacks on the borders of the two countries, which Khartoum says were carried out by Ethiopian militias backed by government forces on Sudanese territory.

On January 12, Sudan announced that Ethiopian forces launched an attack on the Al-Fashaqa area within the Sudanese borders in Gedaref State, killing 6 people, 5 women and a child.

In turn, Ethiopia accused the Sudanese forces of “seizing 9 camps” within the Ethiopian borders and “violating the agreement signed between the two countries in 1972 on border issues by invading Ethiopian territory.”

Last week, Ethiopian Foreign Ministry spokesman Dina Mufti accused Egypt of intensifying its destabilization efforts against Ethiopia and the volatile Horn of Africa region. “The Egyptian government is pushing Sudan to engage in a conflict with Ethiopia, in its bid to weaken both countries,” the official said.

Recently, an Egyptian official admitted Egypt’s concerted effort to delay the second filling of the GERD: “It is true that Egypt played a role in the recent Sudanese escalation, but it does not want to stir a complete military confrontation between them [Sudan and Ethiopia]. It only wants a military escalation to achieve a political solution, which is the delay of the second filling of the GERD until a final solution is reached, since filling the dam has negative repercussions on the flow of water to Egypt,” the official said.

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