Hamdok calls for prime ministers to hold talks over Nile dam

Thursday April 15 2021
Nile dam.

The Blue Nile river as it passes through the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), near Guba in Ethiopia, on December 26, 2019. PHOTO | AFP


Following a stalemate in the Nile dam talks in Kinshasa, Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok has suggested that further talks be held at heads of state level.

In a letter written on April 13 to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Egyptian Prime Minister Mustafa Kamal Madbouly, Dr Hamdok says that negotiations over the filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (Gerd) have reached an impasse and the three countries should now revoke Article 5 of the Declaration of Principles signed in March 2015.

The article says that “if the parties are unable to resolve the dispute through consultations or negotiations, they may jointly request for conciliation, mediation of referring the matter for consideration of the Heads of State or Government”.

Dr Hamdok says negotiations have dragged on for 10 years and additional intervention by the US and the World Bank have note borne any fruit yet Gerd has reached critical stages, therefore, the three countries urgently need to reach an agreement.

“Furthermore, recent facilitation efforts by the African Union since June 2020 were equally not successful including the recent concluded Ministerial Meetings in Kinshasa, DRC, which failed to reach an agreement on an effective framework to conduct negotiations,” Dr Hamdok said in the letter.

He suggested a virtual summit between Dr Abiy, Dr Madbouly and himself within the next 10 days.


The latest round of talks between the three countries in the Democratic republic of Congo ended earlier this month with no progress made.

Sudan and Egypt were aligned on a proposal to include the European Union, the US, and the UN in the negotiations, in addition to the current African Union mediators. But Ethiopia rejected the proposal during the meeting, and also rejected suggestions to restart negotiations.

Following the failure of the Kinshasa talks, Egypt addressed the UN Security Council and the General Assembly on April 13, seeking international support on the dispute over the dam Ethiopia is building on the Blue Nile.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry earlier warned that Ethiopia’s insistence to continue with the second phase of filling the dam’s reservoir in July before reaching a binding agreement, could affect “regional security and stability”.

Ethiopia began constructing the 1.8-kilometre-long dam in 2011 as a key to its economic development and power generation. Egypt says the dam will disrupt its supplies of the Nile waters, while Sudan is concerned about the dam’s safety and water flows through its own dams and water stations.