Foreign Minister of Sudan Asma Mohamed Abdalla and her delegation leave the US Treasury Department after negotiations on the disputed Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, situated on the border between Ethiopia and Sudan. Picture: Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters

Johannesburg – United States President Donald Trump has helped break the deadlock in talks between Egypt and Ethiopia on the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) by Ethiopia following intensive talks between the two North African countries, as well as Sudan, in Washington DC.

Trump tweeted that Wednesday’s meeting went well and that discussions on resolving the issue would continue after Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia’s foreign ministers agreed to reach a comprehensive, cooperative, adaptive, sustainable, and mutually beneficial agreement on the filling and operation of the dam and to establish a clear process for fulfilling that commitment in accordance with the 2015 Declaration of Principles.

Cairo asked for Washington’s intervention after years of fruitless talks with Addis Ababa over GERD’s construction - which began in 2010 - specifically over the filling of the dam and the timetable for its operation.

Egypt, which claims historical rights to the Nile River resources and relies on it for supplying the majority of its water, expressed concern that filling the dam would impede its water supply while Ethiopia argued that its construction is vital for an improved electricity supply.

Sudan has not been directly involved in the confrontation between the two countries but is the third country situated on the Nile so is also affected.

United States of America President Donald Trump has helped break the deadlock in Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) talks. Video: Zodidi Dano/ African News Agency.

The World Bank also attended the meeting and with the agreement of the foreign ministers the sides are due to hold another four technical governmental meetings involving the water ministries to iron out issues.

The Blue Nile river flows near the site of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam near Assosa in the Benishangul-Gumuz region of Ethiopia, near Sudan, some 800 kilometres (500 miles) from the capital Addis Ababa. File picture: Elias Asmare/AP

A final agreement planned for January 15 next year will be preceded by a further two meetings in Washington DC on December 9 and January 13 to asses and support progress.

African News Agency