Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia ministers to meet in Washington to resume GERD negotiations

Ahram Online , Sunday 8 Dec 2019

The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam

The irrigation ministers of Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia are set to resume the negotiations on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) in Washington on Monday under the auspices of the US Treasury and with the participation of the president of the World Bank. 

Monday's meeting is part of an agreement reached in November that the three countries would hold four meetings to resolve technical issues related to the filling and operating of the GERD. The agreement also stipulates that two meetings will be held in the US to follow up on the negotiation process.

The first round of negotiations was held in Ethiopia on 15-16 November, while the second was held in Cairo on 2-3 December. The third and fourth meetings are scheduled to be held in Sudan and Ethiopia ahead of the final meeting in the US.

"The negotiations reflect Egypt's keenness to reach a consensus on the rules for filling and operating the GERD," the ministry added.

The ministry stressed on the importance of agreeing on a mechanism for coordination between the Ethiopian dam and Egypt's Aswan High Dam, which is an internationally recognised mechanism for managing common rivers basins.

Ethiopia launched the GERD project in 2011 in a bid to provide electricity to more than half of its population and to become the continent's biggest power exporter, generating more than 6,000 megawatts.

The timeframe for filling and operating the dam is one of the main obstacles in the negotiations.

The three countries have put forward different proposals on the duration of filling the GERD’s reservoir. Egypt’s proposal calls for a relatively extended filling period.

Egypt fears that the speed of filling the Ethiopian dam will adversely diminish its share of the River Nile water, as the country depends on the river for 85 percent of its water resources.

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