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Thursday, 13 August 2020

Addis Ababa hasn’t started filling GERD, says Ethiopian FM

Egypt said after the 10th day of online talks that no agreement has been reached. The legal and technical committees of the three counties will continue their meetings on Monday

Ahram Online , Monday 13 Jul 2020
Andargachew
Ethiopia's foreign minister Gedu Andargachew
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Andargachew denied local Ethiopian news reports that Ethiopia began filing the GERD's reservoir on 8 July.
 
"Ethiopia's government did not declare that matter," Andargachew told Al-Ain news website on Monday. He vowed to sue local outlets that published this news item.
 
He also noted that the African Union-brokered negotiations are still ongoing between Addis Ababa, Cairo, and Khartoum over the dam his country has been building since 2011 on the Blue Nile.
 
Egypt and Sudan have demanded a legally binding deal on how the dam should be filled and operated, particularly during drought periods, calling against unilateral actions.
 
Cairo, which relies on the Nile for 95 percent of its fresh water, fears the dam will significantly cut the river’s flow, especially during the filling stages through periods of drought and dry years. 
 
Khartoum also said the safety of its Roseires dam directly relies on the operation of the GERD, which is located around 100 km from the Sudanese dam. Ethiopia says the project is key to its development efforts.
 
The three countries have been engaged in online talks mediated by the African Union since 3 July in a bid to reconcile opinions over the near decade-long disagreements caused by the controversial project.
 
The ongoing talks come in response to a call from South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa, the current chairperson of the AU.
 
The African Union last month called on the three nations to refrain from taking any action that may "jeopardise or complicate" its efforts to find an acceptable solution to all outstanding matters over the $4.8 billion dam.
 
Egypt said after the 10th day of online talks that no agreement has been reached. The legal and technical committees of the three counties will continue their meetings on Monday.
 
The previous round of negotiations between the three countries, held from 9 to 17 June, failed to produce an accord due to Ethiopia's refusal to enter into a legally binding agreement and its recurrent announcement that it will begin filling the dam in July with or without the approval of the two downstream countries.
 
In response, Egypt appealed to the UN Security Council to intervene to resolve the stalemate to preserve international peace and stability.
 
The Security Council held an open session on the dam in late June, urging the three countries to avoid adopting any unilateral actions and conduct talks based on mutual understanding.
 
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