US senators arrive in Sudan amid Renaissance Dam unease

US Senators arrive in Khartoum, as Sudan tensions with Ethiopia mount over Nile waters
2 min read
04 May, 2021
Sudan's foreign minister has described the GERD situation as a 'national security' matter.
The Ethiopian megadam has long been controversial [Gallo/Orbital/Copernicus/Getty-file photo]
The US has sent representatives, including two leading Senators, to meet officials in Sudan as regional unease mounts about Ethiopia's plans to again fill the Great Renaissance Dam (GERD), according to media reports.

Sudanese outlets reported that US Senators Christopher Coons and Chris Van Hollen, who travelled to Sudan on Monday, will meet with senior figures there during a three-day visit, Al Jazeera’s Arabic-language service sai.

Coons previously drafted the bill that gave Sudan it legal immunity in relation to terror charges.

Sudan's Foreign Minister Mariam Al-Sadiq Al-Mahdi said Khartoum considers the planned second filling of the dam in July a "national security" matter.

She also warned that Ethiopia must gain the consent of Sudan and Egypt before it makes such a move.

Read more: Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia's Nile dam dispute: A looming conflict?

Al Jazeera said this was laid out in a statement on Monday after the foreign minister's meeting with Felix Tshisekedi, president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

"Sudan gives the subject of the Renaissance Dam's second filling the highest degree of importance," she said.

The Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam: A looming catastrophe for Egypt?
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The crisis "affects the lives of millions of Sudanese people on the banks of the Blue and main Nile", she said.

Al-Mahdi's Congo trip follows recent visits to other African states, including Kenya and Uganda, where she has outlined Khartoum's view on the Renaissance Dam project.

This comes after Ethiopia's Foreign Minister Demeke Mekonnen reportedly sent the United Nations Security Council a letter complaining about Cairo and Khartoum's conduct.

The message purportedly described the two nations' bilateral military arrangement as "go[ing] beyond the threat of war".

While Ethiopia considers the Renaissance Dam critical to its energy needs, Sudan and Egypt believe its filling would be disastrous for water levels and the working of their own dams.

Egypt acquires 97 percent of its water from the Nile.

Negotiations relating to the dam have now been ongoing for a decade.

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