Ethiopia and Sudan Agree to Resume Dam Talks

ADDIS ABEBA – Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and his Sudanese counterpart, Abdala Hamdok, have agreed to continue a technical level discussion over the multi-billion dollar hydropower dam, Ethiopia is building on Nile River.

The agreement came after the two leaders together their high-level delegation held virtual talks on Thursday afternoon.

Today’s discussion was focused on “exploring amicable solutions” related to the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) and to resolve “outstanding and misunderstood issues” between the two parties, according to the Prime Minister Office of Ethiopia’s statement.

“Responding to concerns raised by the Sudanese side, clarity was provided on environmental issues, dam safety and data exchange facilitation,” says the office in a statement.

During the meeting, Prime Minister Abiy provided progress information on the issues raised to the Sudanese side, and also gave a highlight of the dam’s role in strengthening the economies of three countries concerned.

“Through our discussions, we addressed misunderstood issues,” said Abiy said after the meeting. His office said today’s discussion led to an agreement for “technical level discussions to continue”.

“We have agreed to continue with technical level engagements through our Water Ministers tasked to discuss outstanding issues and arrive at win-win solutions,” Abiy said.

The meetings will be led by the Ministers of Water Affairs of the countries, says the office without stating when and where it is going to be held. It is not yet clear whether Egypt will be part of the technical discussion.

The trilateral talks between Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt is currently stalled following Cairo’s attempt to involve a third party such as U.S. earlier this year, and the UN security council this month into the negotiation.

The dam is the centerpiece of Ethiopia’s bid to become Africa’s biggest power exporter, with a projected capacity of more than 6,000 megawatts.

The East African plans to start filling the reservoir behind the dam in July. The first stage of the filling process is expected to take two years and bring the water level in the reservoir to 595 meters out of an eventual 632 meters.

Image :Today’s discussion has been attended by Prime Minister Abiy (C), Foreign Minister Gedu Andargachew (L) and water minister Seleshi Bekele (R)

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