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Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam talks held, reports of disagreement

Egypt reportedly seeks to impose document prepared by the United States, regarding the filing and operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, during the Washington discussion

Ethiopian Dam _
Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. Photo credit: Ministry of Water, Irrigation, and Energy

June 10, 2020

Ethiopia’s Ministry of Water, Irrigation, and Energy on Wednesday announced that the three countries (Ethiopia, Egypt, and Sudan) held negotiations on the filling and amount of water to be released annually.

It is implied that the negotiation is focused on those issues (based on Ethiopian position) and that the Nile water in its entirety is not an agenda item to be entertained. 

The Minister also confirmed that South Africa, European Union, and the United States attended it as observers while reiterating Ethiopia’s commitment to resolving differences between the three countries through negotiation.

The three countries have presented their documents on the filing and release of water, and the negotiation will continue, according to a brief update the Ministry of Water, Irrigation, and Energy released.

The first tripartite negotiation since the failure of the US-brokered deal in February took place via a video conference. The water ministers from the three countries are key negotiators.

On the other hand, there are reports of disagreement on the role of parties that are attending the negotiation as “observers.”

BBC Amharic service said on Wednesday that there was no agreement on the question “What should be the role of the observers?”

Ethiopia withdrew from the Washington negotiation in February protesting the United States’ dictation manifested in the draft agreement that the United States prepared.

Egypt had the position that signing the US-drafted agreement was the only way forward for Ethiopia until it was convinced by Sudan sometime last week that the tripartite talk could resolve the difference.

According to a report by an Egyptian news source, Egypt Today, Egypt wants to win in the tripartite talk by adhering to the US-World Bank brokered document.

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