FILE- A general view shows construction activity on the Grand Renaissance dam in Guba Woreda, Benishangul Gumuz region in this March 16, 2014 file photo. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri/Files
CAIRO - 27 December 2019: The Cabinet denied on Friday media reports on an alleged compromise Egypt made in negotiations with Ethiopia and Sudan on the rules of filling the reservoir and operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).
The Cabinet affirmed Egypt’s insistence on its proposal, and eagerness to reach an agreement with both countries on condition of not causing major harm to Egypt.
As reported by CNN Arabic, the reports claimed that Egypt withdrew its demand of receiving 40 billion cubic meters of water every year from the Blue Nile while filling the reservoir as Ethiopia wants to reduce Egypt’s share during that period to 35 billion cubic meters. The Ministry of Irrigation and Water Resources negated Egypt’s approval of Ethiopia’s proposal on Wednesday.
On November 6, foreign ministers of Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan as well as president of the World Bank and the U.S. Treasury Secretary met in Washington to discuss the path of GERD negotiations and agreed to hold four technical meetings on the rules of filling the reservoir and operating the dam.
The first was held in Ethiopia on November 15-16, the second convened in Cairo on December 2-3, the third took place in Khartoum on December 21-22, and the fourth meeting will be hosted by Ethiopia on January 9-10.
Egypt and Ethiopia are at loggerheads over the $4-billion dam; Cairo voiced concern over its water share [55.5 billion cubic meters] after Ethiopia started building the dam on the Blue Nile in May 2011. A series of tripartite talks between the two countries along with Sudan began in 2014. One year later, the three countries signed the Declaration of Principles, per which the downstream countries [Egypt and Sudan] should not be negatively affected by the construction of the dam.
The time-frame for filling and operating the dam is one of the main obstacles in the negotiations. Egypt wants the duration to be seven years as drought is expected to happen simultaneously while Ethiopia wants it to be three years. The three countries have tabled different proposals on the duration of filling the GERD's reservoir.
Cairo blamed Addis Ababa for hindering a final agreement concerning a technical problem, calling for activating Article No. 10 of the Declaration of Principles, which stipulates that if the three countries could not find a solution to these differences, they have to ask for mediation.
Later, the United States sent an invitation to the three countries to resume the talks. Meetings were held with foreign and water ministers of Egypt and Upper stream countries, in the presence of United States Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin and a representative from the World Bank.