Sudan says national interest sole reference for Ethiopia’s Nile dam talks

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Chairman of Sudan’s Sovereign Council Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan on Thursday said Sudan’s national interest will be the sole reference for the negotiation on the disputed Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). Al-Burhan made the remarks when he met with Sudan’s Irrigation and Water Resources Minister Yasir Abbas, also head of the Sudanese delegation to the Ethiopia’s Nile dam talks, said the sovereign council in a statement.
Al-Burhan has voiced his support to the decision by the negotiating delegation not to attend the tripartite negotiations on the GERD scheduled on Nov. 21, it added.
Sudan demands a bigger role for the experts of the African Union (AU) to narrow the difference of the viewpoints of the three countries concerned.
The Sudanese negotiators believe that the Nile dam talks should go beyond the level of irrigation ministers and be referred to the AU and the leaders of the three countries to provide political will to bring their positions closer.
The Sudanese delegation also calls for giving the AU and US observers a status of mediators, a move in which Egypt and Ethiopia seem not to be interested.
The delegation further insists that the negotiation be held on the points of difference instead of all the issues and based on the Declaration of Principles signed in 2015 regarding the GERD.
Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia have been holding talks, under the AU sponsorship, over the technical and legal issues related to the filling and operation of the GERD.
Ethiopia, which started building the GERD in 2011, expects to produce more than 6,000 megawatts of electricity from the project, while Egypt and Sudan, downstream Nile Basin countries that rely on the river for its fresh water, are concerned that the dam might affect their share of the water resources.

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