Steady Stance of Sudan on GERD Negotiations

Isam Addeen Mohammed Saleh

On the long course of the tripartite negotiations that includes Sudan, Egypt, and Ethiopia (the three stakeholders on River Nile waters, on reaching a binding legal agreement and resolving the disputes over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) which took a long time without reaching any tactile outcome, the three countries resorted to different tactics, strategies and besides the doors of the negotiations halls to avoid the negative aspects of GERD after its completion.

It happened at that some time the interests of one of the three countries conform with the second, but it contradicts with the interests of the third.

Observes, analysts, and experts suggest that there are variables and new conditions in the Sudanese stance from conforming with Ethiopia. This is evidenced in the enormous statements of the Sudanese officials and the sympathize of the Sudanese public opinion towards the eligibility of Ethiopia in constructing the dam and benefit from the Blue Nile waters according to the international conventions and laws., besides their affirmation and promoting that Sudan will benefit from the construction of the dam.

The statements of the Sudanese officials could be understood as a contradiction to the Egyptian stance which considers that the construction of the GERD represents a threat to the Egyptian state.

Meanwhile, some experts consider the negotiations variables of the Sudanese stances made the Sudanese stance closer to the Egyptian stances through several facts on top of which the coordination between the two countries on expanding the umbrella of the negotiations to include the United Nations, the European Union, and the United States of America under the leadership of the African Union.

The proposal of expanding the umbrella of the negotiations came from the Sudanese officials and was immediately supported by Egypt.

Also, the two countries (Sudan and Egypt) unanimously rejected the second fill of the GERD without reaching a binding legal agreement to be signed by the three countries.

The recent joint military maneuvers between Sudan and Egypt could be understood that there is cooperation and coordination between Sudan and Egypt to confront the Ethiopian hardliner stance which neglects to reach a binding legal agreement on the second filling of the dam.

However, there are variables which the Sudanese government is sticking to, on top of which is the importance of reaching a legal agreement for the three countries on the filling of the GERD lake and the future operation to avoid any negative effects on the Sudanese dams and reservoirs or the people living along the banks of the Blue Nile.

Sudan also insists that its share amounting to 18.5 billion cubic meters as stipulated in the 1959 agreement should not be affected, while Ethiopia is endeavoring to include the issue of water share in the ongoing negotiations.

Sudan’s justification on not to touch its share is that the negotiations on GERD filling and operation have nothing to do with the water share.

It is obvious that Sudan is adapting stances that serve the national interests, and the same time is emphasizing the importance of resolving the water issues amid Nile Basin countries through negotiations within the framework of joint interests and cooperation to benefit from the water resources in consideration to the just and reasonable right for the benefit of all Nile Basin states.

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