Sudan’s Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources, Yasir Abbas, has called on Ethiopia to accept the Quartet Mediation of the African Union, the United Nations, the European Union, and the USA, to reach a just and legal agreement acceptable to Sudan, Egypt, and Ethiopia.
Addressing a celebration marking the World Water Day in Khartoum on Monday under the motto ‘valuing water’, Abbas pointed out the importance of the Quartet Mediation “to narrow the viewpoints gap between the three parties”. He expressed astonishment at Ethiopia’s rejection of the mediation.
Minister Abbas reviewed the ministry’s strategies concerning the management of water resources, adding that maintenance operations are currently underway at Bott Dam which collapsed recently.
He explained that the ministry is keen to provide irrigation water through the rehabilitation of the irrigation canals to the different projects, stressing the necessity for the increase of water fees to improve the agricultural water operation.
The celebration was also addressed by Professor Abdel Qader Abdin, Head of science and technology programmes at the UNESCO Office in Khartoum, who reviewed the organisation’s support for the Sudanese Water Network and the Regional Centre for Water Harvesting.
Last week, Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok wrote a letter to the African Union, the United Nations, the European Union, and the USA to request formation of a ‘quartet committee’ to mediate in the negotiations of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). The US State Dept has already responded that the USA will continue to support efforts to resolve the disagreement on the GERD and encourage the resumption of a productive dialogue.
Hamdok’s letter of March 13 follows an agreement reached in Cairo earlier this month between Hamdok and Egyptian President Abdelfattah El Sisi, to continue their efforts to communicate with international parties to “expand the umbrella of negotiations on the GERD” and to implement the Sudanese proposal to have international parties join a quadripartite mediation, including the EU and the USA.
In the letter, Hamdok suggests changing the method used in the negotiations, which led to the failure to reach an agreement between the three parties during the past negotiation period, as well as establishing an approach based on the presence of the main international partners.