Renaissance Dam – File Photo
CAIRO - 22 January 2020: Legal and technical delegations from Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia started their consultative meeting Wednesday to resume talks about rules of filling and operating the Renaissance Dam that will end Thursday Jan. 23.
The delegates outlined a draft of the agreement as well as followed up on negotiations that took place between the foreign and irrigation ministers of the three countries in Washington on January 13-15.
The three countries are committed to reaching a comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable agreement about how to fill and operate the dam.
Egypt announced in Jan. 17 that the Washington meeting on the controversial Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) due on January 28-29 has great importance to achieve consensus on all points relating to filling and operating the dam and to reach a comprehensive agreement between Egypt ,Sudan and Ethiopia.
During their three-day discussions at the US Department of Treasury in Washington D.C. on January 13-15, the three countries reached consensus on the definition of drought and prolonged droughts of the Nile water as it was one of main points of contention between them, according to a statement from the Egyptian Ministry of Water Resource and Irrigation on Friday.
It added that Ethiopia will abide by applying certain mitigation measures to alleviate the possible impacts of the process of reservoir's filling during the period of droughts, noting that the three countries, with representatives from the US Department of Treasury and the World Bank, will continue consultations in these matters over the coming two weeks.
The main points that will be tackled in the coming period are legal and technical, the statement said, adding that they will discuss the mechanism for settling disputes that may arise from resetting the policy of dam operation due to changes in the amounts of Nile floods from one year to another or from one period to another.
After nine years of disagreements and discussions between three countries, they finally achieved a breakthrough and agreed on an agreement concerning the technical and scientific problems at the Washington meeting, which was attended by Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin and President of the World Bank David Malpass.
The disagreement between the three states dates back to May 2011 when Ethiopia started building the dam; Cairo has voiced its concerns that building the dam could harm its 55.5 billion cubic meters share as 80 percent of Egypt’s share comes from the Blue Nile and Ethiopian Heights, while Ethiopia says it is necessary for its development and electricity production. However, the three countries reached an initial deal, announcing the “Declaration of Principle,” per which the dam should cause any harm to the Nile downstream countries.