All options open regarding Nile dam: Sudan

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Khartoum, April 8 : Sudan's Irrigation and Water Resources Minister Yasir Abbas said Khartoum is open to all options, including resorting to the UN Security Council, regarding the disputed Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on the Nile river following the failure of the latest round of talks. "All options are open before Sudan, including resorting to the UN Security Council," Xinhua news agency quoted Abbas as saying at a press conference here on Wednesday. "Filling of the dam without a deal directly threatens Sudan and exposes the lives of 20 million citizens living below the dam to danger," he noted. He went on to saythat "this is not a matter of propaganda or media intimidation, but a description of the facts, as the storage capacity of Sudan's Al-Rusaires Dam is 7 billion cubic metres and it is only 15 km from the GERD whose storage capacity is 74 billion cubic metres". He reiterated Sudan's firm position which calls for changing the negotiating approach to reach a binding legal agreement. Abbas further denied that Ethiopia proposed a bilateral agreement with Sudan. The Democratic Republic of Congo, the current chair of the African Union, had hosted the latest round of talks over the GERD with the participation of Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia. Sudan proposed a mediation quartet of the UN, the European Union, the US and the AU regarding the GERD issue. Ethiopia, however, has announced its rejection to this formula. In February, Ethiopia had announced that it would carry on with the second-phase 13.5-billion-cubic-metre filling of the GERD in June. The volume of the first-phase filling last year was 4.9 billion cubic metres. Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia have been in talks for years 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 dam project. But Egypt and Sudan, downstream Nile Basin countries that rely on the river for its freshwater, are concerned that the dam might affect their share of the resources. /IANS




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