Nile dam talks collapse as Sudan seeks clarification on AU experts

Saturday November 21 2020
Nile dam.

Nile dam talks collapsed again on November 19, 2020. PHOTO | FILE | NMG


Nile dam talks collapsed once again on Thursday after Sudan demanded clarity on the role of experts provided by the African Union.

The new talks were supposed to help reach an agreement on Ethiopia’s filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on the Blue Nile, which Sudan and Egypt have argued could affect their water sources.

Prof Yassir Abbas, the Sudanese Minister for Irrigation, told journalists in Khartoum that Sudan would not proceed with the talks chaired by South Africa’s Minister for International Cooperation Grace Pandor whose country is the current AU Chair.

On Thursday, Egypt and Ethiopia insisted on continuing negotiations but Khartoum said it wants an expert analysis as its borders are close to the GERD.

“The Roseires Dam is 15km away from the Renaissance Dam. Sudan’s position is completely different from Egypt and Ethiopia, the Renaissance Dam is at the end of the Ethiopian western border and is more than 3,000km away from Egypt. Ours is directly affected by the Renaissance Dam.”

Ethiopia on the other hand reiterated the importance of continuing negotiations.


On November 4, Khartoum announced that the three countries had agreed to halt the round of negotiations and to return the file to the African Union.

The Sudanese Ministry of Irrigation said in a statement at that time, “this round failed to make any tangible progress, and to agree on the role, methodology, paths and timetable for experts to play in the negotiation.”

Addis Ababa wants to fill the dam to generate electricity, even if it does not reach an agreement with Cairo and Khartoum. Sudan and Egypt say filling the dam will interfere with water supply in the two countries.