Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia to resume GERD talks in Addis Ababa in January: Min.

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Mon, 23 Dec 2019 - 10:46 GMT

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

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 - 23 December 2019: The Egyptian, Sudanese and Ethiopian water resources and irrigation ministers agreed to continue their technical discussions on all unresolved issues concerning the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) project during their next meeting in January 9-10 in Addis Ababa.

According to a statement released by the Egyptian Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation on Monday.

This came at the conclusion of their 3rd round of talks over the dam which is under-construction on Ethiopia's Blue Nile, a main tributary of the River Nile which provides more than 90 percent of Egypt’s fresh water, the statement added.

The meeting had kicked off on Saturday in Khartoum in the presence of representatives of the US Department of Treasury and the World Bank group.

According to the statement, during their talks, the ministers continued discussions over the outcome of the first round in Ethiopia in mid-November and the second one that Cairo hosted early this month, in a bid to reach an agreement on the rules of filling and operating the dam and its reservoir based on Cairo's desire to hammer out a fair and balanced deal in this regard.

At the first round of the second meeting held on Dec. 2, Egyptian Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Mohamed Abdel Aty expressed his hopes to reach an agreement on the filling and operation of the GERD by January 15, 2020, ensuring a clear path towards a win-win situation, where all parties' interests are served.

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.

However, Cairo has 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. 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.

President Donald Trump praised the meeting with the top representatives ofthe three countries, saying on his Twitter that it “went well and discussions will continue during the day!”

President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi also lauded the constructive and pivotal role played by President Trump and the US, which reflects the depth of the strategic relations between Egypt and the United States. The president said that this would contribute to reaching an agreement on the filling and operation of GERD and promoting stability and development in East Africa.

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