Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt recommence dam talks

Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt on Monday recommenced the tripartite virtual negations on the Ethiopian Great Renaissance Dam (GERD).

The talks among the three countries was interrupted for the past two weeks after Ethiopia completed the first phase of filling water GERD, which angered the two countries. Since Ethiopia launched the construction of GERD some nine years ago, Egypt especially has been expressing its fear claiming that the 74 billion cubic meters reservoir dam of Ethiopia will significantly reduce the water share it used to get.

The latest negations among the three countries was led by the African Union (AU) before when it was interrupted two weeks ago. The negotiation was supposed to recommence a week ago. Meanwhile Sudan has requested extension of another week before recommencing the talks, according to the state broadcaster, which quoted the Water, Irrigation and Energy Minister of Ethiopia, Seleshi Bekele.

Among the issues the three countries are yet to agree includes water filling period, and releasing of the water from GERD during drought seasons. Ethiopia proposed to complete filling the dam completely by phase from four to seven years, while Egypt has said that it should be filled at least in 11 years.

In 2015 in Khartoum, Sudan, the leaders of the three countries have for the first time signed Declarations of Principles, which allows Ethiopia to continue the construction of GERD while they negotiate for a win-win deal.

As per its first phase of filling GERD plan during the rainy season, about two weeks ago Ethiopia has announced already completing filling the reservoir with 4.9 billion cubic of water without causing any significant harm to the two downstream countries.

Ethiopia contributes 86 percent of the water to the Nile River, which travels over 6,000 kilometres through Khartoum and Cairo before ending in the Mediterranean Sea. Meanwhile this is for the first time for Ethiopia to use the water, which has been a significant contributor for the economies of Egypt and Sudan.

With the aim of building confidence with the Sudan and Egypt, the Government of Ethiopia has been engaged in several diplomatic activities, which includes, bringing Egyptian and Sudanese politicians to visit the construction site.

Meanwhile on the contrary, some Egyptian politicians have been trying to threaten Ethiopia by claiming that they will launch military attack if it start filling the GERD before inking a deal. It is amidst this threat that Ethiopia has successfully completed the first phase of filling the dam in less than two weeks period using the heavy rainy season.