Khartoum Discussion On GERD Successful, says Water Minister

Ethiopia Egypt and Sudan have made progress on various issues during their discussion over the renaissance dam, Addis Ababa said on Tuesday.

During their latest discussion in Khartoum, the three nations discussed on proposals they put forward for discussion regarding filling the reservoir and operating the dam.

Ethiopia’s Minister of Water, Irrigation and Energy, Dr. Seleshi Bekele, said the meeting has ended with a “successful” outcome.

“The three countries have reached agreements on a number of issues,” the Minister told reporters.

Egypt has fully removed its previous proposal that suggests Ethiopia to release a minimum of 40 billion cubic meters of water annually. Getting rid of that “proposal is a big success”, Dr. Seleshi said.

Cairo’s latest proposal also suggested the natural flow of the Nile River to be maintained. Ethiopia rejected the proposal as it denies the rights of upstream countries, he said.

The three countries also failed to reach an agreement on the amount of water released and the water levels at the dam during a drought period. Ethiopia suggested releasing 35 billion cubic meters annually in that period.

The trio, however, agreed to come up with a definition of droughts and how the dam would operate during droughts in their upcoming meeting in Addis Ababa on Jan. 9-10, 2020..

All in all, the three nations have come closer to aligning their views on filling the reservoir of and operating the giant hydroelectric dam, said Yasser Abbas, Sudanese irrigation minister.

“There is a convergence (of views) in general, and there are differences of views in some circumstances. Sudan proposed a specified time for filling the reservoir and added definitions for drought and continuous drought,” Abbas told reporters after the meeting in Khartoum.

In November, the foreign ministers of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan agreed to work towards resolving their dispute over the dam by Jan. 15, 2020, after meeting U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and World Bank President David Malpass in Washington.

They met in Washington again this month and are due for a third meeting on Jan. 13, where they will try to finalize an agreement to resolve the dispute.