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Monday, 06 April 2020

Khartoum to host 'legal and technical' talks on GERD on Wednesday

The meeting is expected to deal with the mechanism for settling disputes related to changes in the annual flood, among other technical points

Mohamed Soliman , Tuesday 21 Jan 2020
The GERD (Photo: Reuters)
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Views: 2734

Khartoum is set to host the penultimate meeting in the latest round of negotiations on the filling and operation process of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on Wednesday and Thursday.

Last week, ministers from Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan convened in Washington, where they reached a consensus on some technical points regarding the dam's filling and operation.

They also agreed to reconvene on 28-29 January in the US capital to finalise the agreement after holding technical and legal discussions in the interim period.

Unlike the previous rounds which were conducted at the ministerial level, only legal and technical delegations will take part in the two-day meetings, the spokesman for Egypt’s irrigation ministry, Mohamed El-Sebaie, told Ahram Online.

El-Sebaie said that there will not be any other meetings before the final Washington gathering.

He added that the talks aim to forge a draft agreement on the giant hydropower dam, which would then be finalised at the subsequent American meeting.

According to Egypt's irrigation ministry, the next meeting is expected to cover points including cooperation on the rules of operating the dam, the mechanism for settling disputes that may stem from re-setting the operation policy owing to changes in the annual Nile flood from year to year, and to review of all the details that have been agreed upon previously.

The ministry stressed the significance of the meeting for solving outstanding matters and reaching a comprehensive agreement before the Washington meeting. 

The US stepped up to host negotiations in November after the three countries announced that talks had reached a dead-end, and after Egypt called for an international mediator.

Two meetings have been held in Washington so far, and four others in the three countries' capitals, as a part of the roadmap agreed upon during the first US-brokered meetings in Washington in November. 

Ethiopia hopes that the mega-dam, which is 70 percent complete and set to be fully operational by 2022, will allow it to become Africa’s biggest power exporter. 

Egypt, which is downstream from the dam, fears that it will diminish its share of Nile water, on which it is almost entirely reliant for its freshwater.

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