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Sudan is the most affected by filling of Ethiopian dam: irrigation minister

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June 6, 2020 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan’s irrigation minister Saturday stressed the need for an agreement on the filing of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) saying that his country is the most affected by its construction.

The planned Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam project (AP)Minister Yasir Abbas made his remarks during a TV talk show with him and the Sudanese foreign minister Asma Abdalla on Saturday on the GERD.

The talks between Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan on the GERD are stalled after Ethiopian refusal to discuss the remaining issuing under a U.S.-led initiative to settle the dispute between the three countries.

"The filling of the reservoir of Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) affects the storage in the reservoirs of Roseires and Sennar dams on the Blue Nile," said Abbas before to stress that this makes agreement on the principles of initial filling important.

The minister further said that the operation of the Roseires Dam which is at 60 km from the border with Ethiopia depends primarily on the Renaissance Dam at 15 km from the Sudanese border.

"Sudan is the most affected by the dam," he emphasized.

The capacity of the Roseires dam reservoir is 7,300 billion cubic meters(bcm), while the GERD water storage capacity is 74 billion which is greater than the Blue Nile yearly average flow of 49 bcm.

Ethiopia reportedly proposes to release 31 bcm of the Blue Nile flow per year while Egypt wants to receive at least 40 bcm to ensure its agricultural production.

In mid-January, the U.S. Treasury announced that the three countries agreed that the initial filling of the dam, due to begin in July, will aim for a level of 595 meters above sea level and early electricity generation while providing appropriate mitigation measures for Egypt and Sudan during severe droughts.

The minister said his country is accused by Egypt and Ethiopia of siding with either country, asserting that Sudan takes its positions based on its national interests without harming the interest of the other two countries.

For her part, the foreign minister reiterated Sudan’s rejection to start the filing of the GERD’s reservoir before the conclusion of an agreement between the three countries.

"The agreement on the principles of filling and operation is a prerequisite that Sudan has put forward throughout the different negotiating rounds," she said.

(ST)

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