Mon, 02 Nov 2020 - 09:40 GMT
The Egyptian delegation in a meeting discussing negotiation mechanism to resume talks on GERD filling and operation. November 1, 2020. Press Photo
CAIRO – 2 November 2020: The irrigation and water resources ministers of Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan presented on Sunday their visions on the mechanism that shall be adopted to resume negotiations on the filling and operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).
The meeting was also attended by the legal and technical delegations of the three states as well as observers from the African Union (AU), the European Union (EU), and the United States.
Sunday's meeting is the outcome of another that took place on October 27, and that was held by the ministers of water resources and foreign affairs of Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan. Participants conferred over ways that can be used to resume talks over GERD.
In Sunday's meeting, the Egyptian delegation stressed the necessity of sticking to the resolutions of the AU with respect to reaching a binding legal agreement on the filling and operation of the dam in a way that fulfill the mutual interests of the three countries and secures their water needs.
A meeting will be held Monday among the technical and legal experts of three states in order to discuss methods of negotiation in the coming period and the vision of each state with that regard. The meeting's outcomes will be reported to the ministers on Tuesday.
Constructions in the Grand Renaissance Dam started on April 2, 2011 at a cost of $4.8 billion. It was built by the Italian construction and engineering company Salini Impergilo. The Italian company is headquartered in Milan. The dam is located on the Blue Nile with a capacity of 74 billion cubic meters, and is expected to generate up to 6,000 megawatts of power.
The disagreement among Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia dates back to May 2011 when Ethiopia started building the dam; 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 should not be negatively affected by the construction of the dam. In October 2019, Egypt 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 disputes, they have to ask for mediation.
The main point of disagreement at present is that Ethiopia does not want a binding agreement, which has caused the suspension of talks. An agreement was reached in January but Ethiopia did not attend the signing meeting in Washington. Later, several negotiations rounds took place but were in vain culminating into the current stalemate.