Sudan Ready to Strike Dam Deal with Ethiopia


The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), formerly known as the Millennium Dam and also known as Hidase Dam, is a gravity dam on Ethiopia’s Blue Nile River that has been under construction since 2011. The dam is located in Ethiopia’s Benishangul-Gumuz Region, some 45 km east of the Sudanese border. An Italian contracting firm, Salini Impregilo, was involved in the dam’s construction. The main purpose of building the dam was for Ethiopia to boost its economy through increased hydroelectric power.

Despite the many advantages of the dam, it has caused disputes between the downstream states of Egypt and Sudan. Egypt objected to the massive dam because it would have an impact on its operations, as the country is heavily reliant on Nile waters. Sudan, on the other hand, is concerned about its dams.

The three countries have since tried to reach an agreement on the dam’s operations. They only had a consensus on terms and conditions and never reached a binding deal since there were no developments in their talks. The water ministers of Egypt and Sudan have held meetings to figure out how they could push Ethiopia into signing a deal. This issue raised the interest of other parties, like the AU chairman, Felix Tshisekedi, and Jefferey Feltman in holding talks with officials from Sudan and Egypt over the dam dispute.

Sudan recently stated that it would only agree to an interim agreement with Ethiopia over the Nile dam if additional discussions were guaranteed.

What the Water Minister Yasser Abbas said

Yasser Abbas, the water minister, told reporters in Khartoum:

“Given the time restraints, Sudan will accept an interim consensus based on certain conditions, which include signing up to all the terms that have been already agreed to.”

The Minister goes ahead and adds:

“There ought to be guarantees that negotiations will continue and that those discussions will be held within a clear timeframe.”

What about Ethiopia’s recent declaration?

Addis Ababa, which started last year that it had met its first target of filling the dam, has stated that it will proceed in July with or without a deal.

The Protests

Hundreds of Sudanese demonstrators gathered outside the Italian embassy in Khartoum on Monday to oppose the dam’s construction and the role of the Italian contracting firm, Salini Impregilo.

Walid Ali, one of the demonstrators, said:

“We want to voice our rejection of the firm’s role, especially as there aren’t enough studies on the structure’s safety. If Ethiopia goes ahead with the second level of filling, it will be disastrous. “

More on Sudan-Ethiopia relations.

Despite Sudan and Ethiopia having friction between themselves because of the dam, the relationship between these two states seems to be more worrying. This is because there is a dispute between them over the utilization of the Fashaga farmland near their border.

We hope that the two countries will not fall apart because there is power in cooperation. Just as Kenya had issues with Somalia and reconciled, it could also be possible for Ethiopia, Sudan, and Egypt to reconcile and cooperate with one another.



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