Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia resume talks on the controversial GERD project
Nov 02, 2020(Nyamilepedia) — Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia have resumed their talks on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on the Blue Nile river in a meeting hosted by the Sudan government.
The week-long negotiations that started on Sunday are being held via videoconference and include water ministers from the three countries, as well as representatives from the African Union, the European Union and the World Bank.
Previous three-way talks have failed to produce an agreement on the filling and operation of the vast reservoir
Egypt, which depends on the Nile for about 97 percent of its irrigation and drinking water, sees the dam as an existential threat.
Sudan hopes the dam will help regulate flooding but has also warned that millions of lives would be at “great risk” if Ethiopia unilaterally fills the dam.
Meanwhile, Ethiopia views the project as essential for its electrification and development, and insists that the flow of water downstream will not be affected.
The three countries agreed to form a six-member committee that will help develop a framework agreement on the role that African experts and the three international observers can play to facilitate the stalled negotiations on the filling of the Blue Nile mega-dam.
“The three sides agreed to continue discussing the issue through a six-member team including two representatives from each country,” Sudan’s water ministry said in a statement.
Addis Ababa declared that it reached its first-year target for filling the reservoir of the mega-dam, which can hold 74 billion cubic metres (2,600 billion cubic feet) of water in July.
Last month, US President Donald Trump appeared to suggest that Egypt may destroy it in remarks that were seen by Ethiopia as inciting “war”.
Egypt and Sudan have long called for a political solution to the dispute, voicing rejection against any unilateral action by Ethiopia.
The Blue Nile, which rises in the Ethiopian highlands, meets the White Nile flowing from East Africa at the Sudanese capital Khartoum to form the Nile, traditionally considered to be the world’s longest river.