Tue, 22 Dec 2020 - 12:54 GMT
Virtual meeting of Egyptian and Chinese diplomats on GERD talks on December 21, 2020. Press Photo
CAIRO – 22 December 2020: The Egyptian Embassy in Beijing organized on Monday a virtual meeting between the delegation in charge of negotiations in the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) talks and Chinese officials.
The Egyptian delegation presented the developments of negotiations, and the efforts deployed by Egypt on the matter over the past decade in order to reach a fair and balanced agreement on the operation and filling of the dam in a way that fulfills the interests of Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan.
The Egyptian delegation is headed by Ambassador Sherif Moussa while the team of Chinese officials was led by the deputy Chinese foreign minister.
In November, the Egyptian, Sudanese and Ethiopian sides did not reach an agreement on a methodology for completing negotiations on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, the Egyptian Ministry of Water Resources said in a statement.
The dispute 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.
Washington had brokered tripartite negotiations among the three countries, in the presence of the President of the World Bank (WB) starting from November 6, 2019 until February 27 and 28, 2020.
During these rounds of talks, tangible outcomes were agreed on among the three parties concerning the rules and mechanism of operating the dam and the filling process of the reservoir during the drought and prolonged drought; however, an agreement was not sealed.
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.