Sudan supports the construction of an Ethiopian dam on the River Nile, according to Sudanese Irrigation and Agriculture Minister Abdulhalim Al-Mutaafi on Sunday.
Mutaafi's remarks have been understood as confirmation of Sudan's earlier position on the Grand Renaissance Dam, located 40 kilometres inside Ethiopian territory from the Sudanese border. The dam is the largest built by Addis Ababa in the region.
“The tripartite dam investigative committee established by Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt showed in its initial report that the dam's construction represents a positive development,” the minister told English-speaking newspaper Sudan Vision.
Mutaafi said the dam presents a “model“ of development for the region.
Addressing Egyptian concerns over the Renaissance dam project, the Sudanese minister claimed it was a political issue, not a technical one.
“Some Egyptian politicians have used the issue as a political tool to pressurize their opponents,” he claimed
"It is known that the building of the dam will benefit downstream countries as it enables them to receive regulated free water."
In his first public endorsement of the project, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir said last month that the Ethiopian dam will benefit Sudan and would not impinge on Egypt's share of Nile water.
In May Ethiopia made a surprise announcement that it planned to divert the course of the Blue Nile, marking the start of construction of the Grand Renaissance Dam.
Egypt says the dam will affect its share of Nile water and the ability of the Aswan High Dam, located in southern Egypt, to generate sufficient electricity.
A diplomatic stand-off between Egypt and Ethiopia ensued, although the issue has more recently attracted less attention following the overthrow of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy and the formation of an interim administration brokered by the country's armed forces.