The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD)

Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan Resume Tripartite Talks over GERD

ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan have resumed their negotiations over the filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) today in Cairo.

Ethiopia’s Ambassador to the US Seleshi Bekele, who is also the chief negotiator and advisor on transboundary rivers and GERD to the PM Office, is leading the Ethiopian negotiations team.

“Necessary preparations have been made to conduct the negotiations in a way that respects Ethiopia benefits and future development rights,” the government communication said.

The construction of the Dam, which is now 90% complete, has been a source of a decade-long diplomatic standoff between Ethiopia and downstream nations Egypt and Sudan.

The last trilateral talks failed to yield a three-way agreement on the dam’s filling and operations.

The talks then stalled after Cairo insisted the filling of the reservoir to stop until such a deal was reached – a position Ethiopia saw as contradictory to previously agreed principles.

Last month, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi agreed to break the stalemate over the GERD negotiations.

The leaders agreed to “initiate expedited” trilateral negotiations to finalize the agreement” on the filling of the Dam and the rules of its operations within four months. Ethiopia also indicated its commitment to fill the GERD reservoir this rainy season without “causing significant harm” to Egypt and Sudan.

As per the directions set by the two leaders, chief negotiator Seleshi said the tripartite negotiation commenced in Cairo.

The ongoing talks is on the first filing and annual operation of the multi-billion dollars Dam being built on Abay, the main tributary to River Nile.

The negotiation will strengthen cooperation among the three countries, said in his opening remarks.

He further states that Ethiopia will continue to stand firm by its position regarding the principle of equitable and reasonable utilization and will continue working to arrive at an amicable conclusion of the negotiation.

Commissioned by Ethiopian Electric Power, the €3.48-billion dam is being built by an Italian construction company, WeBuild, in Ethiopia’s western region of Benishangul-Gumuz.

Once completed, the dam will become an energy hub for Ethiopia and the region, which is in great need of energy. It will also allow the country to generate and export clean and renewable electricity, avoiding the emissions of more than two million tonnes of CO2 a year.