Sudan protests as Ethiopia begins electricity production on Nile Dam

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The Grand Ethiopia Renaissance Dam in Ethiopia.

By Theodore Jones –

Sudan on Monday rejected what it described as a “unilateral step” by Ethiopia to begin electricity production from the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

“Ethiopia’s decision to unilaterally begin operation of the GERD constitutes a violation to the Declaration of Principles signed by the three parties,” Sudan’s acting Irrigation and Water Resources Minister Daw Al-Bait Abdul-Rahman said in a statement.

“Before the move, the Ethiopian side should have provided the other parties with enough information, such as the volume of water expected to exit from behind the dam, to know if the Sudanese reservoirs would be able to absorb it to adopt the necessary precautions.”

Ethiopia began generating power from the dam on Sunday following its launch the same day by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. It is set to be the largest hydroelectric plant in Africa.

Mr Abdul-Rahman said Ethiopia did not inform Sudan that it was launching the electricity production, adding that it “is an unacceptable move, regardless of its justifications.”

The Sudanese minister all parties in the Nile dam dispute—Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan—should hold talks and reach a unified vision on the GERD.

Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia have been negotiating under the African Union over technical and legal issues related to the filling of the Nile dam and electricity production.

Sudan earlier proposed a mediation by the United Nations, the European Union, the United States and the African Union regarding the GERD issue, but Ethiopia rejected the proposal.

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 water resources.

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