Egypt made proposals, but no agreement reached with Ethiopia over GERD: Ministry

Zeinab El-Gundy , Thursday 9 Jan 2020

A general view of the construction works at the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), near Guba in Ethiopia, on December 26, 2019. (Photo: AFP)

Egypt's irrigation ministry said on Thursday that Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan could not reach an agreement despite several proposals made during the fourth round of technical talks on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), which concluded in Addis Ababa on Thursday.

"Egypt presented suggestions and studies that would ensure the generation of electricity to Ethiopia at high efficiency during times of drought while at the same time securing Egypt's water interests," a statement by Egypt’s irrigation ministry read.

"Nevertheless, the three countries could not reach an agreement regarding the amount of water to be released from the dam during the various hydrological conditions of the Blue Nile,” the ministry said.

The statement added that there was also an “absence of clear procedures from the Ethiopian side to preserve the capacity of Egypt's High Dam in dealing with the impact of the GERD’s operations, especially during drought and prolonged drought periods."

The three countries held the fourth technical meeting on 8-9 January in Addis Ababa in the presence of representatives from the US and the World Bank, who served as observers.

Egypt asserted during the talks that the GERD, as a new water facility, should be integrated into the Eastern Nile Basin system to preserve the flexibility of the water system in facing drought, the effects of climate change, and any tough circumstances resulting from filling and operating the dam.

Following the end of the fourth round of talks, a meeting between the Egyptian, Sudanese and Ethiopian foreign and irrigation ministers will be held in Washington on 13 January at the US treasury department.

If the dispute is not resolved by 15 January, an international mediator will be appointed to help resolve it, according to the deal the countries reached in Washington. 

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