The outcomes of the latest Ethiopian dam negotiations reflect deep divisions between the three countries involved, according to Egypt’s former Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Mohamed Nasr Allam.
The most recent round of talks between Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan, ended without consensus on the disputed points regarding the filling and operation of the Ethiopian dam.
On Friday, Ministers of Water Resources and Irrigation from the three countries met virtually but later announced that they had failed to reach agreement on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), an Egyptian statement said.
The ministers agreed that each country will send a separate letter to the current chair of the African Union (AU), South Africa, outlining their respective views on negotiations.
According to the statement from Ethiopia’s Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy, the parties are expected to reconvene on 14 September.
The legal-technical committee on Ethiopia’s mega dam had planned to prepare an initial draft of agreed and disputed points between the involved parties. The initial plan was to provide a report on the outcomes of its work to South Africa, but this plan was cancelled due to the lack of tripartite consensus.
Allam pointed out that the GERD parties are not able to formulate a single document on the disputed points due to the aggravated level of contention, with the current period “the time to review the situation and the feasibility of resuming this course of talks”,
“It is clear that there is a limited level of conflict on the technical part compared to the disputes over the legal and political points,” Allam noted.
On Saturday, Ethiopian Minister of Water, Irrigation and Energy Seleshi Bekele said that the talks had witnessed some progress. Writing on his official twitter account, Bekele noted, “Negotiation on GERD during the last two weeks made some progress, not yet completed, to submit the expected draft agreement. We expect to reconvene on 14 September 2020.”
In the presence of observers from the AU Assembly Bureau, alongside representatives from AU member states, the US, and the EU, the current round of meetings comes in accordance with the outcomes of the 16 August ministerial meeting. This was held between the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, and Water Resources, from the three countries.
The outcomes of the 21 July mini-summit, that gathered leaders of the three sides alongside South Africa, have also provided input for the current talks.