Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan to resume technical GERD talks on Tuesday: Sudan's irrigation ministry

Ahram Online , Monday 8 Jun 2020

The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (photo: Reuters)

The irrigation ministers of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan are scheduled to hold an online meeting on Tuesday to resume technical talks on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), the Sudanese irrigation ministry said in a statement on Monday.

Khartoum and Addis Ababa announced on 21 May that Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan have agreed to resume technical discussions on the GERD.

The tripartite negotiations stalled in February after Ethiopia skipped the final round of talks held in Washington. Of the three countries, only Egypt initialled the resulting draft agreement.

The Sudanese irrigation ministry said on Monday that this round of negotiations should end with a “comprehensive agreement that meets the interests of the three countries and fulfils the aspirations of their peoples.”

The ministry explained that throughout the tripartite negotiations that have started in 2013, the three countries have reached agreement on the majority of  aspects related to the dam, and that only a few issues remain unresolved.

The meeting is set to discuss procedural issues related to the role of observers and the remaining issues under discussion. It will be attended by three observers from the United States, South Africa and the European Commission.

On Monday, Sudan's information minister and government spokesman Faisal Salih insisted that an agreement should be signed between the three countries before Ethiopia starts filling the GERD.
Salih confirmed that Sudan is a key party in the tripartite negotiations and will be affected by the filling of the GERD due to its proximity to the Roseires dam in southern Sudan.

Egypt said in May that it is always ready for talks with Sudan and Ethiopia over the GERD after the announcement by Khartoum and Addis Ababa that they are willing to resume technical discussions, the Egyptian foreign ministry said in a short statement.

The Egyptian foreign ministry stressed that the upcoming meeting between the ministers of irrigations should be "serious and constructive" to contribute to a fair, balanced and comprehensive agreement that would preserve Egypt’s water rights and the interests of both Sudan and Ethiopia.

Egypt and Sudan rejected an Ethiopian agreement released on 10 April proposing a “partial agreement” that would only cover the first stage of the filling.

On 1 May, Egypt sent a memo to the Security Council blaming Ethiopia for trying to establish a deal without taking the interests of downstream countries, Egypt and Sudan, into consideration.

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