Ethiopia discloses that Egypt, Sudan initiated a halt on GERD negotiation

Ethiopia, Egypt, and Sudan to reconvene tripartite meeting on August 10 after the lower riparian countries asked for it

borkena
August 4, 2020

A day after the tripartite talk resumed discussing outstanding points of disagreement on the filling and operation of Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, the three countries (Ethiopia, Egypt, and Sudan) agreed to temporarily halt the meeting.

Ethiopia’s Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy disclosed on Tuesday that “Egypt and Sudan requested to adjourn the meeting to be able to consider the guidelines and rules on the filling of GERD which Ethiopia submitted.” 

The Ministry added that the Egyptian delegation proposed August 10, 2020, to reconvene the trilateral meeting.  Ethiopia anticipates that the meeting will continue on the stated date, as indicated in the statement from the Ministry.

African Union-led negotiation resumed on August 3, 2020, to discuss the amount of water that Ethiopia is to release to downstream countries in the event of an extended drought and on how to resolve disputes in the future, as reported by the Associated Press on Monday.  It resumed a day after Ethiopians around the world celebrated the first phase of filling of GERD which retained 4.9 billion cubic meters of water. Ethiopia said that it managed to fill the dam exploiting heavy rain last month without causing any significant decrease in the volume of water flowing to the lower course of the river.

Ariel view of GERD after first phase filling

Officials from the United State and European Union attended the online meeting between the three countries.

Public opinion in Ethiopia swings towards the idea that Ethiopia should not be held responsible for droughts in the lower riparian countries so long as it is using its share of the water to fill the GERD reservoir which has the capacity to hold 74 billions cubic meters of water. Although Ethiopia contributes over 85 percent of the Nile water, it had never used it for millennia.  

Ethiopia has been resisting the intended imposition of a binding agreement on the grounds that the future generation should not be a prisoner of harsh water arrangement while the lower riparian countries want an agreement that is binding.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg reported on Monday the US government is warning that Ethiopia might be running out of time on the negotiation regarding the filling and operation of the dam.

Last month, Foreign Policy Magazine reported that the Trump administration is divided over Ethiopia’s refusal to sign an agreement that protects the interest of Egypt at the expense of Ethiopia. Cut in non-humanitarian aid is among the measures that the U.S. is considering.



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