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GERD legal, technical panel end meetings; new ministerial talks to begin Wednesday

Each country set to put forward proposals on framework that should be established for upcoming negotiations on long-running dispute

Ahram Online , Tuesday 3 Nov 2020
GERD
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Legal and technical experts from Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan have concluded their meetings on Tuesday, tasked to put a frame of reference on the role of experts to facilitate the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) talks.

They are set to present their reports to their countries' irrigation ministers who will virtually convene on Wednesday.

According to a statement released by the Egyptian irrigation ministry on Tuesday, each country is set to put forward its proposals for the framework that should be established for upcoming negotiations on the long-running dispute, caused by the dam, that the upstream country Ethiopia has started building on the Blue Nile since 2011.

The new proposals have been formulated during the six-member meeting of the three nation's legal and technical experts' representatives which was held over the past couple of days.

The week-long talks kicked off on Sunday with experts meeting days after a call by the South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, the current chair of the AU, to resume the negotiations and to end the standoff.

According to the Egyptian statement the legal and technical experts meeting came to an end by Tuesday.

The African Union had stepped in the long-running dispute after the tripartite negotiations reached deadlock last year as did talks sponsored by the US and the World Bank in February.

The negotiations, however, broke down in late August after Ethiopia proposed a package of non-binding guidelines for the filling and operating of the mega-dam, as opposed to what downstream countries Egypt and Sudan seek.

Egypt and Sudan have repeatedly stressed on the significance of reaching a binding agreement concerning the rules of filling and operating the near-complete mega-dam.

Cairo fears the massive hydro-power project will significantly reduce its crucial water supplies from the River Nile, while Sudan fears it could endanger the safety of its own dams especially that it is built 15 kilometers from the Ethiopian border.

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