Sudan has sent a letter to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) warning that the lives of millions of people will be in danger if Ethiopia goes ahead with its plan to fill a deposit on the Blue Nile before an agreement is reached. .
Ethiopia’s unilateral action “would compromise the security of Sudan’s Roseires dam and thus expose millions of people living downstream to great risk,” the Sudanese water ministry said in a statement Thursday, adding who had sent a letter to the UN body.
Tensions have escalated between the two countries and Egypt after recent talks failed to reach an agreement on the filling and operation of the Great Renaissance Dam of Ethiopia (GERD), a giant hydroelectric project built near the border. Ethiopia with Sudan and the centerpiece in Addis Ababa bets on becoming the largest energy exporter in Africa.
Egypt, which relies almost entirely on the Nile for its freshwater supplies, is eager to achieve a legally binding agreement that guarantees minimum flows and a mechanism to resolve disputes before the dam begins to operate.
Al Jazeera’s Hiba Morgan, reporting from Sudan’s capital Khartoum, said almost all technical problems have been resolved after several rounds of intermittent negotiations.
However, the legal problems remain unresolved, even if the agreement will be binding under international law. During the last round of talks last week, Sudanese negotiator Hisham Abdalla He said Ethiopia had suggested that “the agreement would be guiding and could be changed or canceled,” adding that it was “a very serious situation.”
Sudan wants to ensure that water discharges from the Blue Nile dam are coordinated with water levels at its Roseires dam, about 100 km (62 miles) from GERD.
Addis Ababa is undeterred as it begins to fill the dam on the Blue Nile next month, regardless of an agreement being reached.
“It appears that political will is not shared equally between the three parties and that is why they cannot return to the negotiating table to resume the talks,” Morgan said.
On Sunday Sudan’s Minister of Water Resources Yasser Abbas said it was important for Ethiopia to share information on the water supplied from the dam, otherwise “we will not know the amount of water discharged from the Renaissance Dam, which could causing flooding and the Roseires dam will be at risk “of being overwhelmed.
The ministry warned that the remaining time for countries to agree is “strict and critical.”
He also urged the UNSC to “invite the leaders of the three countries to show political will and commitment to solve the few remaining problems.” Khartoum recently proposed breaking the continuing deadlock by raising the status of the talks to the level of the prime minister.
Cairo, which sees the hydroelectric bombardment as an existential threat, appealed on Friday
for the UNSC to intervene in the dispute, citing Addis Ababa’s “non-positive positions”.
Egypt fears that the dam would severely cut off its water supply from the Nile, which provides almost 97 percent of the country’s fresh water needs.
Ethiopia, for its part, says that the project is essential for its development and insists that the water supply of the downstream countries will not be affected.
Al Jazeera and news agencies