New round of GERD negotiations kicks off in Addis Ababa

Ahram Online , Saturday 23 Sep 2023

Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan started in Addis Ababa on Saturday the second leg of the recently revived trilateral negotiations over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

negotiations
Part of the meeting between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan for negotiations on the dispute caused by the GERD in Addis Ababa on Saturday 23 September, 2023. Photo courtesy of Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation.

 

The three parties began the first leg of the negotiations in Cairo on 27-28 August to reach an agreement governing the rules of filling and operation of the megadam.

The three parties said they hope to reach an agreement by the end of the year.

Egypt said on Saturday it approaches Addis Ababa meetings "with the same seriousness and goodwill as always," according to a statement by Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Hani Sewilam.

Egypt seeks a "just and balanced" agreement that ensures its water security as well as the interests of Ethiopia and Sudan, Sewilam affirmed.

The GERD is located on the Blue Nile River, one of the major tributaries for the Nile River that Egypt depends on for 97 percent of its water needs.

By the end of the first leg, Cairo said it had not observed any "material change" in Ethiopia's stance.

The new round of talks comes nearly two weeks after Ethiopia announced that it had completed the fourth and final unilateral filling of the GERD reservoir.

Sewilam asserted that the filling, in the absence of an agreement, violates the Agreement on Declaration of Principles signed between three nations in 2015 as well as international law.

Sewilam added that the filling has cast a negative shadow over the ongoing negotiation process and poses a threat to its success.

Egypt's irrigation minister emphasized the availability of various technical and legal solutions that can facilitate a legally binding agreement that would meet the interests of all three nations.

The recently revived talks are the first since negotiations sponsored by the African Union collapsed in April 2021.

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