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Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan to continue GERD negotiations on Tuesday

New round of negotiations aim to reach an agreement on filling and operation of GERD in the quickest possible time

Zeinab El-Gundy , Sunday 16 Aug 2020
GERD
Photo shows an aerial view Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile River in Guba, northwest Ethiopia. Photo: AFP
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Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan will continue negotiations on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on Tuesday, the Egyptian foreign ministry said on Sunday, after talks between the three countries resumed that afternoon.
 
According to the Egyptian foreign ministry, the new round of negotiations, called for by current African Union chair South Africa, aim to reach an agreement on the filling and the operation of the GERD in the quickest possible time.
 
“Egypt stressed during the meeting the importance of negotiations in order to reach a legally binding agreement that will regulate the filling and operations of the GERD in a way that preserves the rights of the three countries and secures their water interests, as well as which limits the damage from this dam and its impact on the two downstream countries,” read the statement.
 
The Sudanese irrigation ministry also issued a statement about the meeting, saying that Sudan reasserts its commitment to return to the negotiations “in the spirit of African solidarity” as well as with the agenda agreed upon earlier this month, and with the principle of international law on the equitable use of water sources without causing harm to others.
 
The Sudanese statement referred to the agenda set by South Africa on 4 August, as well the expert reports presented to the AU on 24 July.
 
“Sudan also stresses that reaching a complete agreement on the filling and operations of the GERD and on future projects represent an additional proof of boosting regional cooperation and reaching African solutions for African problems,” the statement read.
 
On Sunday, the Egyptian foreign ministry announced the resumption of the negotiations between the irrigation and foreign ministers of the three countries.
 
The talks, which are taking place by video conference, were originally scheduled for Monday, after Sudan requested last week an adjournment for one week for "internal consultations."
 
Sudan had threatened to withdraw from the talks, which are sponsored by the African Union, if Ethiopia insisted on linking an agreement on the dam’s filling to negotiating a deal on sharing the waters of the Blue Nile.
 
On Saturday, Egypt and Sudan called for an agreement on the GERD that would preserve the interests of Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia, in accordance with the 2015 Declaration of Principles, as well as the principle of the just and equitable use of water while not causing significant harm, and the relevant principles of international law.
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