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Ethiopia retracts from Washington agreement on GERD’s filling: Egypt

Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam is seen as it undergoes construction work on the Blue Nile river in Guba Woreda, Benishangul Gumuz Region, Ethiopia on September 26, 2019. (Reuters photo)June 12, 2020 (KHARTOUM) - Ethiopia retracted from what had been agreed in Washington process to settle the disagreement over the filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) said the Egyptian government last Friday.

In a series of talks held in Washington mediated by the U.S Treasury Department and the World Bank, Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan agreed on several points on the filing process which will take some years.

However, they failed on the volume of water that will be stocked and what will be released for the downstream countries mainly Egypt. Also, Sudan wanted a coordination mechanism to protect its dams on the Blue Nile.

In a meeting held on Thursday, the parties discussed an Ethiopian proposal on the GERD filling and operation submitted on Wednesday. It came after a proposition handed over to Ethiopia and Egypt by the Sudanese irrigation minister on Tuesday.

In a statement on Thursday evening, the Egyptian government issued a statement saying that Ethiopian proposal is a total reversal from what had been agreed during the Washington process.

"Egypt, as well as Sudan, have expressed reservations about the Ethiopian paper as it represents a complete breach of the principles and rules previously agreed upon by the three countries during the negotiations that took place with the participation and sponsorship of the United States and the World Bank," said the spokesman of the Egyptian irrigation ministry.

The statement further stressed Egypt’s continued commitment to the agreement reached in Washington, terming it as "an equitable and balanced agreement" enabling Ethiopia to achieve its development.

The parties are supposed to conclude an agreement on Saturday 13 June.

Sudan did not issue a statement on the Ethiopian proposal.

(ST)