Ethiopia, Egypt, Sudan hold talks on Nile dam

Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam.

Ethiopia’s Grand Renaissance Dam is seen as it undergoes construction work on the river Nile in Guba Woreda, Benishangul Gumuz Region, Ethiopia September 26, 2019. Picture taken September 26, 2019. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri – RC1BF04BBB80

ADDIS ABABA (Xinhua) — Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan on Sunday held a virtual meeting over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) issue.

The Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that the three countries’ ministers exchanged views on the continuation of the trilateral negotiation focusing on a draft document presented by the experts assigned by the chairperson of the African Union (AU).

“Ethiopia pronounced its positive outlook towards the draft document and expressed its willingness to use it as a single work document for the trilateral negotiation,” the ministry said.

Sudan confirmed “the importance of the document for the progress of the negotiation and its willingness to advance the negotiation with a defined role of the AU experts,” it said.

Egypt, however, “categorically rejected the document,” according to the Ethiopian Foreign Ministry.

Meanwhile, Sudan’s Water Ministry said in a statement that “the meeting concluded … that this week will be devoted to bilateral talks between the three countries, the experts, and the observers.”

This week’s talks will pave the way “for the resumption of tripartite negotiations on Sunday Jan. 10 in the hope of concluding by the end of January,” it added.

Ethiopia started building the GERD in 2011, while Egypt is concerned that the dam might affect its 55.5-billion-cubic-meter annual share of Nile water. Sudan has recently been raising similar concerns over the dam.

Over the past few years, tripartite talks on the rules of filling and operating the Ethiopian dam have been fruitless, including those hosted by Washington and recently by the AU.

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