Ethiopia, Egypt, Sudan Eye Final Deal on GERD

ADDIS ABEBA – Foreign ministers of Ethiopia, Sudan, and Egypt in Washington to continue talks over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) as years of negotiations reach a critical stage.

The meetings – on Tuesday and Wednesday – aim to reach a comprehensive agreement on filling and managing the Ethiopian dam.

The three nations’ top diplomats and water ministers, as well as representatives from the US administration and the World Bank, will attend the meetings.

Ethiopian delegation led by foreign minister Gedu Andargachew traveled to Washington DC on Sunday.

In mid-January, a joint statement noted that the parties have agreed that the filling of the dam will be “executed in stages” during the wet season.

“This time we focus on reviewing the legal write up of the agreement on filling and operation that started in Khartoum last week,” said Dr. Seleshi Bekele, Ethiopia’s Minister of Water, Irrigation and Energy.

“The draft was based on the already technically negotiated results,” said the minister is part of the delegation that involves law experts.

The main elements of the technical results include principles, filling stages, retained volumes of water in the dam, reservoir operation, drought and its management, data exchange and coordination mechanisms, according to the minister.

Ethiopia started constructing the dam in 2011 to revive its economy and bring electricity to millions of people in mostly rural areas.

More than 70% of the dam construction has so far been completed, according to government officials, with a plan to start filling its reservoir in July and finish up within 4-7 years.

The overall construction of GERD is scheduled to be fully completed in 2023.

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