KHARTOUM, 3 January 2021, (TON): Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia held next round of talks Sunday over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) issue under the patronage of
African Union (AU). The meeting is chaired by South African Minister of International Cooperation given that South Africa is currently the chair of the African Union (AU) mediating the negotiations. Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shokry and Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources Mohamed Abdel Aty were of the view that fundamentals of the Egyptian stance is mandating the crystallization of a legal binding agreement among Ethiopia, Sudan, and Egypt on the rules of dam operation and reservoir filling. Sudanese side which attended the meeting comprised of Foreign Minister Omar Kamar El Din.
Earlier, Sudan on rejected Ethiopian proposal regarding the filling and operation of the GERD that an agreement should only be about the first phase of the filling of the GERD, while it links the agreement with reaching a comprehensive treaty regarding the Blue Nile water. Sudanese officials said, proposal constitutes a violation of the Declaration of Principles signed by Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia in March 2015.
Sources said, the meeting discussed Sudan's proposal aimed at reactivating the negotiations via giving a greater role for the AU experts to reach a binding legal agreement on the GERD, however, there was no breakthrough
Ethiopia, which started building the US$4-billion GERD in 2011, expects to produce over 6,000 megawatts of electricity to push the country's development. Egypt, a downstream Nile Basin country that relies on the river for its fresh water, is concerned that the dam might affect its 55.5-billion-cubic-meter annual share of the water resources.