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Sudan warns Ethiopia on dam

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Sudan has said neighbouring Ethiopia should not unilaterally go ahead with the further filling a massive dam on the Blue Nile River, saying such a move would threaten its national security.

The comments on Saturday by Sudanese irrigation and water resources minister Yasser Abbas marked the latest expression of Sudanese concern about Addis Ababa’s apparent determination to fill the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (Gerd) without first reaching an agreement with Khartoum and Cairo.

“The filling of the Renaissance Dam by one side next July represents a direct threat to Sudan’s national security,” Abbas told Reuters news agency.

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In a separate interview with AFP news agency, Abbas said the filling the dam would also “threaten the lives of half the population in central Sudan, as well as irrigation water for agricultural projects and power generation from [Sudan’s] Roseires Dam”.

There was no immediate reaction by Ethiopian officials.

Ethiopia has been building the Gerd on the Blue Nile, close to its border with Sudan, and says the dam is crucial to its economic development. Sudan hopes the hydropower dam will regulate annual flooding, but fears that its own dams, including the Roseires and Merowe, would be harmed if no agreement is reached.

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Egypt, meanwhile, views Gerd as a big threat to its freshwater supplies, more than 90 percent of which come from the Nile.

Ethiopia began filling the reservoir behind its dam after the summer rains last year despite demands from Egypt and Sudan that it should first reach a binding agreement on the dam’s operation.

The latest three-way talks were held last month in the presence of observers from the African Union and European Union, but failed to make headway.—A Jazeera

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