Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia have agreed to continue talks on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) with the attendance of observers, Sudanese Irrigation Minister Yasser Abbas said on Tuesday.
In a briefing aired on Sky News Arabia channel which followed a virtual meeting of the irrigation ministers of the three countries, and attended by observers from the US, the EU and South Africa, Abbas described the talks as "positive and fruitful."
The three countries' perspectives were presented at the meeting, which was procedural, according to Abbas.
Egypt called for the talks to be continued in accordance with the outcomes of the Washington meetings held on 21 February, while Sudan called for a return to 12-13 tripartite meetings between the three countries, the Sudanese minister noted.
Ethiopia clarified that it could resume negotiations according to the terms of reference agreed at Washington but it still has "outstanding pending points," Abbas added.
Ahead of today's meeting, Cairo had called for a timeframe for the technical talks, according to a statement by the Egyptian National Security Council.
The council said in a statement on Tuesday afternoon that Egypt “asserts its initial position that it is ready for negotiations in order to reach for a balanced and fair agreement to achieve the interests of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan, [but] it considers this invitation to have come late.”
Today's talks are the first between the three sides since February, when Ethiopia pulled out of a meeting in Washington.
Egypt and Sudan had rejected an Ethiopian deal released on 10 April proposing a “partial agreement” that would only cover the first stage of the filling of the mega-dam.
Sudan has held talks with Egypt and Ethiopia to bring back all the parties to the table following an escalating war of words between Cairo and Addis Ababa.
Cairo has welcomed Khartoum’s initiative but has stressed the importance of "serious and constructive” talks to reach a fair, balanced and comprehensive agreement that would preserve Egypt’s water rights and the interests of both Sudan and Ethiopia.
In May, Egypt revealed it had sent a letter to the United Nations Security Council detailing the status of the GERD talks and its concerns.