Egypt: No progress in Egypt-Ethiopia GERD negotiations

Egypt did not see material change in Ethiopia’s stance on GERD during Cairo talks, says Egyptian Irrigation Ministry.

According to a statement by the Egyptian Ministry of Irrigation and Water Resources on Monda, Egypt did not see any material change in Ethiopia’s stance on major points of contention in the dispute over the filling and operation of the GERD during the trilateral talks that were held in Cairo on 27-28 August.

“Egypt continues its vigorous efforts to reach a legally binding agreement on the filling and operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD),” stressed the Egyptian ministry.

“This agreement should safeguard Egypt’s interests, protect its water security, and ensure benefits for all three countries,” noted the statement.

“Egypt’s positive approach is conducive for the success of the upcoming round of negotiations to resolve the dispute on the filling and operation of the GERD – building on the recent agreement between the two leaders of Egypt and Ethiopia on the need to resolve the dispute in the coming months,” added the Egyptian ministry.

Earlier on Monday, the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced in a statement that delegations from Ethiopia, Egypt, and Sudan at the trilateral ministerial-level talks that just ended in Cairo agreed to meet in Addis Ababa in September to hold another round of negotiations to resolve the dispute.

“The three parties exchanged views to reach a win-win resolution and Ethiopia will endeavour to conclude the trilateral negotiation based on the principle of equitable and reasonable utilization while ensuring its rightful share of the Nile waters,” added the Ethiopian foreign ministry statement.

The last round of talks between the three parties to resolve the dispute over the GERD, which was sponsored by the African Union, collapsed in April 2021.

Over the last three years, in the absence of a legally binding agreement on the filling and operation of the dam as demanded by Egypt, Ethiopia unilaterally completed the first three fillings of the dam and is undertaking the fourth filling at the moment.

Egypt has charged that unilateral Ethiopian actions contravene international law and the UN Security Council’s Presidential Statement issued on ways to resolve the dispute in September 2021.

Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan resumed their years-long negotiations Sunday over the controversial dam Ethiopia is building on the Nile River’s main tributary, officials said.

The resumption of talks came after Egypt’s Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Ethiopia Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said last month that they aim to reach within four months an agreement on the operation of the $4.6 billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile.

The Blue Nile meets the White Nile in Sudan’s capital of Khartoum, before winding northward through Egypt to the Mediterranean Sea.

Egypt fears a devastating impact if the dam is operated without taking its needs into account. It called it an existential threat.

The Arab world’s most populous country relies almost entirely on the Nile to supply water for agriculture and its more than 100 million people. About 85% of the river’s flow originates from Ethiopia.

The Irrigation Minister Hani Sewilam said Egypt wants a legally binding agreement on how the giant dam is operated and filled.