Egypt and Sudan have been pushing Ethiopia for a “binding agreement” before the second phase of filling
Ethiopia offered Egypt and Sudan offered data sharing as the country is preparing to undertake the second phase of GERD filling which is scheduled to take place in the rainy months of July and August 2021.
A statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia on Saturday disclosed that a formal invitation is sent to the Republic of Sudan and the Arab Republic of Egypt.
The countries are advised “to nominate dam operators to exchange data before the second filling of the GERD commences in the upcoming rainy seasons in Ethiopia.”
It is Dr. H.E. Dr.Eng. Seleshi Bekele, The Minister of Water, Irrigation, and Energy of Ethiopia, who wrote the invitation letters to relevant authorities in Sudan and Egypt.
“The invitation was based on the consensus that was reached on the filling schedule formulated by the National Independent Scientific Research Group (NISRG) of the three countries along with the period of the filling in July and August, and it may continue in September depending on the hydrology,” a statement from the ministry of foreign Affairs of Ethiopia said.
Ethiopia’s move is aimed at confidence-building measures and transparency about the second phase of the filling.
The letter sent to Egypt and Sudan “underlined the importance of immediate conclusion of agreement on the rules and guidelines on first filling in accordance with Article 5a of the Declaration of Principle that was signed by the three countries in 2015 will offer a good opportunity to build confidence and trust among the parties.”
Anonymous sources within Sudanese Foreign Ministry confirmed the Anadolu Agency receipt of the invitation.
The official, who is said to be a member of the Sudanese negotiation team, is quoted as saying “It is clear that the Ethiopian offer is an attempt to ease Sudanese, regional and international pressure on Addis Ababa.”
The three countries failed to reach an agreement last week in Kinshasa during a meeting led by African Union Chairperson (and president of Democratic Republic of Congo), Felix Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo who encouraged negotiating parties to see the DoP agreement signed in 2015 as a basis.
Sudan and Egypt proposed to grant observers (United States, the European Union and South Sudan) the same mediator role as the African Union. Ethiopia declined to accept the proposal firmly asserting that the African Union should be the only international organization to facilitate and mediate the tripartite agreement.
Currently, the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam is said to be completed about 80 percent, and the second phase of the filling is expected to retain 13.9 billion cubic meters of water which is said to be adequate to run two turbines which are expected to generate power soon after filling is completed.
Egypt and Sudan had been putting pressure on Ethiopia to impose what they called a binding agreement, regarding the use of Nile water, before the second phase of the filling. Ethiopia maintained a stance that the negotiation should be about the filling and operation of GERD, not the use of Nile water.
Egypt and Sudan last month signed a military cooperation agreement, and they disclosed that the second filling of the dam constitutes a national security threat if done without a binding agreement.
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