The Ministers of Water Resources and Irrigation from Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia resumed, on Monday, the second round of talks regarding the controversial Ethiopian dam.
The renewed talks come with the hopes of reaching a legally binding agreement on the disputed points related to the dam’s filling and operation.
The meeting concluded with the agreement to meet again on 3 August, to allow the respective parties to complete internal discussions on the latest updates, according to Egypt’s Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation.
The recent round of negotiations on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) were observed by the African Union (AU) Assembly Bureau, in addition to representatives from AU member states, the US, and the European Union (EU).
During Monday’s meeting, Egypt and Sudan reiterated their rejection of any unilateral action taken by Ethiopia to fill the dam’s reservoir, before consensus has been achieved between the three parties.
Moreover, Sudan’s Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources Yassir Abbas reviewed the negative impacts of Ethiopia’s unilateral manoeuvres on his country’s water situation.
A representative for South Africa, which is the current AU chair, stressed the need for an agreement on the GERD project’s filling and operation. This would form the groundwork for reaching a comprehensive agreement later on regarding water cooperation and development on the Blue Nile.
Last week, Heads of State from Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia agreed to resume talks on the filling and operation of the Ethiopian dam, with the aim of reaching a legally binding agreement. The announcement came during a virtual mini-summit sponsored by South Africa.
Following the meeting, Addis Ababa announced that the dam’s first year of filling had been achieved due to the heavy rain the country witnessed in early July, during the current rainy season.
Despite the AU call on the three parties to achieve a legally binding agreement on the disputed points, Ethiopia’s officials have repeated statements saying that Addis Ababa does not want a binding agreement that could seize the country’s control over the Blue Nile. The Ethiopian statements were firmly rejected by Cairo.