This satellite image shows the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile river in the Benishangul-Gumuz region of Ethiopia. Piture: Maxar Technologies via AP
This satellite image shows the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile river in the Benishangul-Gumuz region of Ethiopia. Piture: Maxar Technologies via AP

Talks between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan over disputed Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam resume

By DPA Time of article published Aug 3, 2020

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Amr Mostafa

Cairo - Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan have resumed negotiations on the filling and operation of a controversial dam being built by Addis Ababa on the Blue Nile.

The online meeting on Monday between the three Nile basin countries is the second of a new round of talks brokered by the African Union to resolve the years-long dispute about the hydroelectric Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.

Egypt, the Arab world's most populous country, fears that the dam will reduce its water supply and is seeking a legally binding deal that would guarantee appropriate flows of water and a legal mechanism for resolving disputes before the dam starts operating.

Ethiopia wants the dam to boost its power exports, whereas Egypt relies almost exclusively on the Nile for farming, industry and domestic water use.

A handout satellite image shows a view of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) in Ethiopia. Picture: Maxar Technologies via Reuters

During Monday's meeting, Egypt's Water Resources and Irrigation Minister Mohamed Abdel Aty expressed his country's rejection of Ethiopia's "unilateral measure" of starting the filling of the dam without consultation and coordination with Egypt and Sudan, which both lie downstream, according a statement issued by his spokesperson.

The minister said the move "gives negative indications that Ethiopia does not want to reach a fair agreement and runs counter to a previous agreement of principles."

The three countries agreed that the legal and technical committees will discuss the contentious issues during the next two days. The results will be presented at a ministerial meeting on Thursday.

Ethiopians celebrate the progress made on the Nile dam in Addis Ababa. Picture: Samuel Habtab/AP

Tens of thousands of Ethiopians celebrated the first filling of the dam on Sunday, flooding the streets of the capital Addis Ababa in support of the project.

In July, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said the country had completed the first filling of the dam thanks to seasonal rainfall.

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