The irrigation ministers of Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan are set to continue negotiations in Khartoum on Sunday on the rules of filling and operating the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), as part of a two-day round of meetings on the disputed dam.
The first day of talks in the Sudanese capital concluded on Saturday, with Egyptian irrigation minister Mohamed Abdel Aty stressing on the importance of the time factor in negotiations, hoping for a progresss in talks.
"The meetings would continue on Sunday," Egyptian irrigation ministry spokesman Mohamed El-Sebaie told Ahram Online, without providing more details about the outcomes of the first day of talks.
The Khartoum-hosted talks are the third of four rounds of talks being held in accordance with an agreement reached in a US-brokered meeting between the three parties in Washington in November, which saw the attendance of representatives of the US government and the World Bank and aimed to break a deadlock in negotiations.
The timeframe for filling the dam has been among the major obstacles during past tripartite talks, often causing negotiations to break down.
The three countries had agreed to hold meetings in Addis Ababa, Cairo, Khartoum, and then in Addis Ababa again, to discuss outstanding issues, with US officials and World Bank representatives attending as observers.
The three countries also agreed to resolve the outstanding technical issues on the filling and operation of the under-construction dam by 15 January, 2020.
The agreement also stipulates that two additional meetings be held in the US, one in the middle of the negotiations and one at the end, to follow up on the process.
The first follow-up meeting was held in Washington last week.
Ethiopia hopes that the $4.8 billion GERD project on the Blue Nile, which has been under construction since 2011, will allow it to become Africa’s biggest power exporter.
Egypt, however, fears that the Ethiopian dam, which is 70 percent complete and set to be fully operational by 2022, will diminish its share of Nile water, which comprises 85 percent of the country’s water resources.