Sudan: US Submitted Final Draft of GERD Agreement
The US Treasury has sent the final draft agreement on the mechanism of filling and operating the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) to Sudan, Egypt, and Ethiopia, Sudanese Irrigation Minister Yasser Abbas said.
Speaking at a press conference, the Sudanese minister revealed that the three parties reached a consensus on about 90 percent of the outstanding points relating to filing and operating the dam, adding that the rest are only technical points.
Since November, the three countries had held 10 meetings in Khartoum, Addis Ababa, Cairo, and Washington.
Abbas revealed to the reporters the general framework of the final draft which consists of 17 items on how to fill and operate the dam and includes the definition of the agreement, important safety issues, and conflict resolution mechanisms.
The Minister said the agreement will pave the way for the completion of environmental and social studies resulting from the operation of the dam, which were postponed until after the signing of the agreement.
Abbas indicated that the agreement will lead to regional cooperation between the three countries, and its participation in joint economic projects that achieve complementarity between them, in order to reach their mutual interests.
Abbas described the role of Sudan as essential and pivotal to reaching an agreement, and said that about 80 percent of the terms of the agreement were proposed by Khartoum.
The US advised delegations of Ethiopia and Egypt to adopt Sudan's proposals to solve the problem of the Dam, and described it as reasonable and acceptable to manage the dispute between the three countries, according to the Minister.
He asserted that the delegation was keen during the negotiation to achieve the “interests of Sudan first,” adding that Khartoum is looking for fair and reasonable use of the Nile water, without causing any harm to other countries.
The Sudanese delegations actively participated in the processes of ensuring implementation of the proposals on dam insurance presented by Sudanese experts, including exchanging information between the GERD administration and the Sudanese Roseires Reservoir.
Abbas explained that Sudan accepts the various amendments made to the dam design by the agreement of the three countries, adding that the safety issues of filling and operating the dam are the essence of the current negotiation.
The Sudanese official denied that his delegation was subject to any US pressure to make concessions regarding the country's share of water, and made it clear that the delegation defended Khartoum's interests.
At the end of February, a tripartite meeting of foreign, irrigation, and water resources ministers will be held in Washington to discuss the final draft agreement which is sponsored by the US Treasury and the World Bank.