ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopia, Egypt, and Sudan kicked off their trilateral talks on the filling and annual operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).
Their top negotiators convened in Cairo for the third round to discuss the draft guidelines and rules for the annual operations of the Dam being built on Abay River, the main tributary of the River Nile.
“The meeting is expected to make progress on unresolved technical and legal differences,” Ethiopia’s Chief Negotiator Seleshi Bekele wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.
He also said, Ethiopia is guided by the principle of equitable and reasonable utilization of the Nile River, as well as the Declaration of Principles (DoP) deal – signed by the leaders of the three countries in 2015.
The €3.48-billion hydropower dam project has been a source of dispute among three countries ever since Ethiopia launched the project in 2011.
The trilateral negotiation that was stalled for nearly two and a half years was initiated in July by Ethiopian and Egyptian leaders with the intention “to finalize an agreement within four months.”
Their negotiators are now in the third round of talks. The previous meeting in Addis Ababa ended without progress after the Egyptian side “pushed a position that undermined” the 2015 DoP.
“Ethiopia participates in these negotiations with a commitment to a negotiated outcome through the trilateral talks,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs noted in a statement today.
The ministry further states that the efforts of the three countries intended to “forge stronger partnerships” adding that:
“For this purpose, the three countries are expected to discharge their shared responsibility of ensuring equitable and reasonable utilization of the Nile River.
“These talks enable the three countries to work collaboratively if they endeavor to come up with creative solutions catering to the interests of all.
“Ethiopia believes that this platform enables the three parties to understand and respond to the interests and concerns of all riparian States based on the principle of equitable and reasonable utilization and reach a negotiated settlement.”
The hydroelectric dam – currently 93% complete – began generating electricity in February 2022. Once fully complete, it will have the capacity to generate more than 6,000 megawatts, doubling Ethiopia’s electricity output.
Authorities pin their hope on the GERD to provide electricity to nearly 60 million Ethiopians who do not have access at the moment as well as export clean power to neighboring countries, avoiding the emissions of more than two million tonnes of CO2 a year.
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