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Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan agree to expedite meetings ahead of GERD filing

The GERD (UN photo)
June 9, 2020 (KHARTOUM) - Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan on Tuesday agreed to hold daily teleconference meetings until next week to settle the outstanding issues about the filing of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

Ethiopia plans to start the filing of the GERD next July as it was agreed with Cairo and Khartoum earlier this year in Washington but it failed to strike a deal with the two downstream countries over technical matters concerning their interests.

For Sudan, it is about the need for close coordination between the GERD and the Roseirse Dam which is located at nearly 100 km from the border to avoid devastating effects of the uncoordinated release of water from the upstream country.

While, for Egypt, it is about the amount of water released per year during the filling process which will take several years.

In a statement released in Khartoum after the virtual meeting, Sudanese Irrigation Minister Yasir Abbas said that the three parties discussed two items: how to pursue urgently negotiations, besides the determination of main outstanding issues for each country separately.

"It was agreed to hold daily meetings, except on Friday and Sunday, to reach an agreement on the pending points. Also, it was agreed that the negotiation between the three capitals will be conducted through video conferencing technology and to assess the outcome (of the daily meetings) on next Monday or Tuesday," said the statement.

The meeting besides the three parties the meeting was attended by delegates from the European Union, U.S. and South Africa.

Abbas who described the meeting as fruitful said the filling of the $4 billion dam is the core of the current negotiations.

During the talks mediated by the U.S. Treasury Department and the World Bank, the three countries agreed that the filing will be executed in stages and take into account the potential impact of the filling on downstream reservoirs.

Further, the filing will take place during the wet season from July to August and some time until September under certain condition every year.

Speaking about the position of his country, the minister stressed that the position of his government supports the interests of Sudan and it is based on technical opinion and the Sudanese interest.

"Sometimes this interest coincides with Ethiopia and sometimes with Egypt," he said before to add "I would like to emphasize that Sudanese interests do not conflict with Egyptian or Ethiopian interests," he added.