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Trilateral Talks over GERD Ends without Agreement

ADDIS ABABA – The fourth round of negotiations over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) has ended today without making progress.

Ethiopia has blamed Egypt’s insistence on “a colonial-era mentality” for the negotiations not making progress.

The delegations of Ethiopia, Egypt, and Sudan held their fourth and final round of talks for the past three days in Addis Ababa.

The aim was to expedite the finalization and agreement on the guidelines and rules on the first filling and annual operation of the GERD currently under construction on Abay River, the main tributary of the River Nile.

The talks in Addis Ababa was a part of three previous four rounds of negotiations conducted following the understanding reached between Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, and Egypt’s President Abdel Fatah el Sisi on 13 July 2023.

“During these four rounds, Ethiopia endeavored and keenly engaged with the two lower riparian countries to address the major issues of difference and reach an amicable agreement,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

“Egypt, in contrast, maintained a colonial era mentality and erected roadblocks against efforts toward convergence.”

Per MoFA, the negotiations on the guidelines and rules on the first filling and annual operation of the GERD were expected “to enhance confidence and build trust among the three countries.”

“It is not meant to foreclose Ethiopia`s rights on the utilization of the waters of the Nile,” the Ministry said. “Ethiopia would, thus, like to make it abundantly clear that it will continue to utilize its water resources to meet the needs of the present and future generations based on the principle of equitable and reasonable utilization.”

The Agreement on the Declaration of Principles of 2015 signed by the three countries provides the basis for this negotiation. The African Union also facilitated a platform that provides the three countries an opportunity to exchange views in order to reach an amicable solution.

After the conclusion of the fourth round of the negotiation, Egypt has issued a statement that Ethiopia said violates the UN Charter and the Constitutive Act of the African Union.

“Ethiopia also rejects the misrepresentation of its positions by Egypt,” the foreign ministry said. It, however, states that “Ethiopia remains committed to reach an amicable and negotiated settlement that addresses the interests of the three countries and looks forward to the resumption of the negotiation.”