Sudan has called for raising negotiations on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on the Nile River from the ministerial to the head of the state level. "The negotiation must be raised from the level ministers to the level of presidents of the three countries through the African Union (AU) in order to provide political support for the negotiations," Sudanese Irrigation and Water Resources Minister Yasir Abbas told reporters here on Saturday.

"Continuation of the negotiations in the current form will not be effective," Xinhua news agency quoted the minister as saying. He added that Sudan was committed to the negotiations anytime and anywhere, adding that reaching a deal needs a decision from the highest political leaderships in the three countries, he explained.

First Round of Talks Conclude

Nile River
Nile River (Representational Picture) Wikimedia Commons

Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia on Friday concluded their latest round of dam talks without reaching consensus over a draft deal regarding the GERD that should have been submitted to the AU. The three countries have been negotiating under the AU over technical and legal issues related to the filling and operation of the GERD.

Egypt's Fear of Losing Water Share

The $4 billion GERD has been a source of tension in the Nile River basin since Ethiopia started constructing it in 2011. Ethiopia expected the dam to produce over 6,000 megawatts of electricity and become Africa's largest hydropower dam upon completion.

However, Egypt, a downstream Nile Basin country that relies on the river for its freshwater, is concerned that the dam might affect its 55.5-billion-cubic-meter annual share of the water resources.