Sudan threatens to sue Italian firm implementing Nile dam and Ethiopian government

Even before the impact studies have been started, officials say 50 percent of the dam's construction has been completed [Reuters]

Sudan on Friday threatened to sue the Italian company implementing the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) and the Ethiopian government if the second filling of the dam is conducted without a legal deal.

“In case the second filling is conducted without reaching a legal deal, Sudan has legal teams, supported with international law offices, that will file lawsuits against the Italian implementing company and the Ethiopian government,” Sudanese Irrigation and Water Resources Minister Yasir Abbas twitted.

“The lawsuit is based on the fact that the environmental and social impacts and risks of the GERD have not been studied,” he said.

The minister noted that failure to reach a deal paves the way for filing a lawsuit to the UN Security Council as the GERD constitutes a real danger to the regional peace and security.

Reaching an agreement does not reduce the sovereignty or rights of Ethiopia, but provides it with full rights and protects Sudan’s interests, Abbas said.

Sudan proposed a mediation quartet of the United Nations, the European Union, the United States and the African Union regarding the GERD issue. Ethiopia, however, has announced its rejection of this formula.

In February, Ethiopia said it would carry on with the second-phase 13.5-billion-cubic-meter filling of the GERD in June.

The volume of the first-phase filling last year was 4.9 billion cubic meters. Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia have been in talks for years over the 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 dam project, while Egypt and Sudan, downstream Nile Basin countries that rely on the river for its freshwater, are concerned that the dam might affect their share of the water resources.

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