KHARTOUM, 16 March 2021 – The government of Sudan has formally requested an expansion of mediation in the dispute over the management of Ethiopia’s mega-dam on the Nile River.
Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok said Tuesday his country has written to the United Nations, the European Union, the United States, and the current chair of the African Union, DR Congo’s Felix Tshisekedi, to demand that they get involved.
Both Sudan and Egypt – downstream nations of the Nile River – have expressed concern over Ethiopia’s publicly stated and reiterated position that it will proceed with a second filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) with or “without a binding agreement between the three concerned countries”.
Hamdok said expanding mediation will “provide significant international and regional support and constitute the required guarantee to build confidence in the negotiations”.
Ethiopia is opposed to an expansion of the mediation, reiterating Monday that the African Union should be allowed to mediate all alone.
Negotiations between the three countries have been deadlocked for several years now.
Egypt has long opposed the construction of the GERD fearing that it would restrict the flow of water on which Egyptians rely for agriculture and fresh water needs.
Sudan is hoping that the GERD will help mitigate seasonal flooding in parts of the country but also fears that it could face harsher droughts when water levels fall and/or the rainy seasons fails.