Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia fail again to reach agreement on Renaissance dam

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Thu, 09 Jan 2020 - 10:20 GMT

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

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 - 9 January 2020: At the end of the final round of a four-meeting series between Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia on controversial Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) in Addis Ababa, the three countries failed to reach an agreement on the operating rules of the dam, announced Egypt’s Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation in a statement on Thursday evening.

During the two-day discussions, Egypt attempted to create a convergence of views via submitting a group of proposals and studies that guarantee for Ethiopia to generate electricity continuously and efficiently during periods of severe drought without causing harm to the Egyptian water share, the statement said. However, no agreement was reached between the three countries on the amounts of water that should flow from the dam in the different hydrological conditions of the Blue Nile river, where the dam is being built, the statement continued.

The Ethiopian side did not provide vivid measures that keep Egypt’s High Dam able to face various effects that could result from filling and operating the Renaissance dam’s reservoir, particularly in prolonged periods of droughts, the statement said.

Consequently, Egypt calls for the Renaissance dam should be a water facility that maintains the water system of the eastern Nile basin in order to let the water system face the harsh conditions that could result from the filling and operating the dam during the drought period or from climate change impacts, the statement added.

Due to this deadlock, it has been scheduled that the foreign and water ministers of the three countries will meet in the US Department of Treasury on January 13, 2020, in light of the outcomes of the Washington meeting that was held on November 6, 2019, the statement said.

When Ethiopia started building the $4-billion dam in May 2011, Egypt voiced concern over its water share [55.5 billion cubic meters]. Three years later, a series of tripartite talks between the two countries along with Sudan began to reach an agreement while Ethiopia continued the dam construction. In 2015, 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. Since then, the talks have been resumed, but In October 2019 blamed Addis Ababa for hindering a final agreement concerning a technical problem, calling for activating the 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, and it has been agreed on November 6, 2019, in Washington to conduct the four rounds of meetings in the presence of representatives from the United States and the World Bank. The first meeting was held on November 15-16 in Addis Ababa, while the second round was on December 2-3 in Cairo. The third round convened in Khartoum on December 22-23.

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