Egypt: Egypt to Take Part in 6-Way Talks On Renaissance Dam

The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam

Egypt on Sunday explained that the recent sessions of Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) negotiations have failed once again due to differences on how to resume talks and of the procedural aspects related to managing the negotiation process.

The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) has been a source of tension in the Nile River basin ever since Ethiopia broke ground on it in 2011, with downstream countries Egypt and Sudan anxious it will restrict vital water supplies.

Sudan has filed a strong protest to Ethiopia and the African Union, sponsor of the GERD talks, over the letter sent by the Ethiopian irrigation minister to the African Union, Sudan and Egypt on January 8 in which he announced Ethiopia's intention to continue filling the GERD on July 2 regardless of an agreement or not.

On Saturday, Sudanese Irrigation and Water Resources Minister Yasir Abbas held a virtual meeting with experts from the African Union on the dam's filling.

"We can not continue this vicious cycle of round talks indefinitely, considering that the GERD represents a direct threat to the Roseires Dam, which has a reservoir capacity less than 10% of the GERD's capacity if the filing and the operations of the GERD starts without an agreement and daily exchange of information", Abbas said.

He stressed that Khartoum was concerned the dam could overwhelm its nearby Roseires dam if an agreement is not reached that would allow the countries to share data.


In previous remarks to Egypt Today, former Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Houssam Moughazi said, "It is hopeful that the three countries reach a final agreement during this time before the second phase".

Immediately, Egypt's Intelligence Chief Abbas Kamel visited Khartoum where he discussed GERD, wide-scale cooperation and regional developments with top Sudanese officials.

Similarly, it said, Sudan conveyed the importance of the document for the progress of the negotiation and its willingness to proceed with the negotiation with a defined role of the AU experts. However, Egypt and Ethiopia both reject Sudan's proposal to expand the role of African Union experts in the negotiations process and finding solutions to the dispute.

South African Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor voiced her "regret that the talks reached a dead end". She said she would raise the matter with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, the current President of the African Union. The dam is a source of national pride for Ethiopia but, for Egypt and Sudan, the dam is a headache. Ethiopia maintains the dam would be vital to addressing the country's acute shortage in electricity, the country needs for domestic and industrial use.

The Blue Nile, which meets the White Nile in the Sudanese capital, provides the great majority of the combined Nile's flow through northern Sudan and Egypt to the Mediterranean.

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