Ministers of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan and their delegations met with the Secretary of the Treasury and the President of the World Bank, participating as observers, to continue negotiations on the filling and operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), in Washington, D.C. on February 12-13, 2020.
A statement by the U.S. Department of Treasury said the Ministers reviewed the progress achieved by their technical and legal teams and continued their discussions on the remaining issues necessary for a final agreement. The Ministers reaffirmed the importance of trans-boundary cooperation in the development of the Blue Nile to improve the lives of the people of Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan, and their shared commitment to concluding an agreement.
“The United States, with technical support from the World Bank, has agreed to facilitate the preparation of the final agreement for consideration by the Ministers and heads of state for conclusion by the end of the month,” added Steven T. Mnuchin, Secretary of the Treasury.
On Feb. 12, Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry attended a meeting to review the final version of a comprehensive agreement over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) in Washington.
Shoukry traveled to the U.S. on Monday to participate in talks with the foreign and irrigation ministers of Ethiopia and Sudan over GERD in a final bid to resolve months of stalemates between Cairo and Addis Ababa over the operation of the mega-dam.
The meetings came under an agreement by the parties to reconvene in Washington this month.
The spokesperson for Egypt’s Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation Mohamed al-Sebaie has said this round firmly focused on reaching solutions that satisfy the three parties, indicating that it was agreed to set a timetable for filling the dam, especially the procedures followed in the drought years.
The spokesman added that the final agreement included rules on filling the dam as well as dealing with droughts, the main part that secures Egypt and a safe operating of the dam to preserve the rights of the downstream countries.
He affirmed that the agreement also included other elements, such as conflict resolution, through the presence of a mechanism to deal firmly with issues binding all parties, and also by setting up a mitigation mechanism for the annual and long-term operation of the dam during droughts.
He finally pointed out that Egypt depends on around 98 percent of the Nile’s water, and any slight defect will negatively affect the country, stressing that the dam should be managed jointly so that Egypt can guarantee its share of the water.
Last October, the Water Resources and Irrigation Ministry said negotiations with Ethiopia had reached a dead-end after the two sides failed to reach an agreement over the filling of the dam.
The Egyptian government blamed the failure of the talks on obstacles from the Ethiopian side.
Since Ethiopia started constructing the dam, Egypt has voiced its fears that the project would negatively impact its water supply and historic share of the River Nile.
On Friday, during the 36th session of the Executive Council of the African Union in Addis Ababa, Shoukry discussed with his South African counterpart Naledi Pandor the latest development of tripartite consultation between Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).
Foreign Ministry’s Spokesperson Ahemd Hafez said in a statement on Friday that Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry reviewed the current situation and Egypt’s positive engagement and its good faith in the negotiation to reach a fair agreement on filling and operating the dam, so that it would achieve Ethiopia’s development goals without causing harm to Egypt’s water interests.