Sudan decides not to participate in ministerial meeting over Ethiopia's Nile Dam

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KHARTOUM, Nov. 21 (Xinhua) -- Sudan has decided not to participate in a ministerial meeting slated for Saturday regarding the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

"Sudan has decided not to participate in the ministerial meeting regarding the GERD, which was scheduled to be convened on Saturday afternoon," said Sudan's Irrigation and Water Resources Ministry in a statement on Saturday.

According to the statement, Sudan's Irrigation and Water Minister Yasir Abbas has sent a message to his Ethiopian counterpart Seleshi Bekele, reiterating Sudan's demand for a bigger role of the experts of the African Union in to facilitating the negotiations and narrowing the gap among the three parties.

"The adopted negotiating method during the past rounds has proved ineffective," Abbas was quoted in the statement as saying.

He noted Sudan's adherence to the negotiation process under the African Union to reach a binding and satisfactory legal agreement pursuant to the principle of "African solutions for African issues."

On Thursday, ministers of foreign affairs and irrigation of Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia held a video meeting to review means of resuming the talks over the outstanding issues relating to the GERD.

The Sudanese negotiators believe that the GERD talks should go beyond the level of irrigation ministers and be referred to the African Union and the leaders of the three countries to provide political will to bring their positions closer.

The Sudanese delegation also calls for giving the African Union and U.S. observers a status of mediators, a move in which Egypt and Ethiopia seem not to be interested.

Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia have been negotiating under the African Union over technical and legal issues related to the filling and operation of the GERD.

Ethiopia, which started building the GERD in 2011, expects to produce more than 6,000 megawatts of electricity from the project, while Egypt and Sudan, downstream Nile Basin countries that rely on the river for its fresh water, are concerned that the dam might affect their water resources. Enditem

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