No Deal to Delay Filling Nile Mega-Dam: Ethiopia

ADDIS ABEBA – The leaders of Sudan, Ethiopia and Egypt have agreed to restart their talks and agree on a deal on Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, Addis Ababa said today.

The office, however, denies claims that agreement to delay filling the mega-dam on the Blue Nile river has been reached.

African Union-sponsored discussion was between the heads of states of the three Nile states as well as the current AU chair and South African president, Cyril Rammaphosa, took place on Friday afternoon after weeks of bellicose rhetoric and escalating tensions over the $4.6bn Dam.

Ethiopia plans to start the first round of filling the dam within a few weeks as per the schedule. Both Egypt and Sudan do not want that and have appealed to the United Nations Security Council to intervene in the years-long dispute. The UNSC is expected to hold a public meeting on the issue on Monday.

Regarding the outcome of Friday’s meeting, the prime minister of Ethiopia said that leaders underscored that the Nile and the GERD are African issues that must be given African solutions, and set directions on the way forward.

Accordingly, it said the three countries have agreed to conclude the negotiation and try to reach an agreement within the next two weeks.

“Ethiopia is scheduled to begin filling the GERD within the next two weeks, during which the remaining construction work will continue,” it continued. “It is in this period, that the three counties have agreed to reach a final agreement on few pending matters.”

Ethiopia says the $4 billion hydropower project will have an installed capacity of 6,450 megawatts.

The three leaders had “agreed to an AU-led process to resolve outstanding issues,” AU Commission Chair Moussa Faki Mahamat tweeted. He gave no details.

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