The Sudanese and Ethiopian Ministers of Irrigation and Water Resources said on the evening of Saturday November 16th that the current Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) negotiations hosted by Addis Ababa were the most successful to date.
The Water and Irrigation Ministers of Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia agreed to continue the meeting in Cairo in December, Sudanese Water Minister Yasser Abbas Mohamed told Al-Ain News on the side-lines of the negotiations.
The Sudanese minister pointed out that it was agreed during the Addis Ababa negotiations to complete the remaining three meetings between Cairo and Khartoum, while Ethiopia will host the fourth meeting.
The meetings held in Addis Ababa over the course of Friday and Saturday, November 15th and 16th, were successful on the six points that resulted from the meeting in Khartoum, according to the Sudanese minister.
His Ethiopian counterpart, Seleshi Bekele, Minister of Water, Irrigation and Electricity, said that the current successful Renaissance Dam negotiations were the first to be attended by observers from the United States and the World Bank.
Bekele said that the GERD meetings hosted by Addis Ababa were currently discussing rules for filling and operating the dam. The ministers agreed to continue to meet saying that the next negotiations on the Renaissance Dam will be held on December 2nd and 3rd in Cairo.
The Egyptian Minister of Water and Irrigation Dr Mohamed Abdel Ati apologised for not commenting on the meetings, saying that he "was satisfied with what the Ethiopian Minister of Water said."
The meeting was the 6th between the Ministries of Water and Irrigation of the three countries and aimed to consolidate the agreement reached by the ministers earlier this month in Washington. Participants discussed proposals to reach a final vision on filling and operating rules, technical issues related to the dam and speeding up their resolution during the rounds of meetings.
Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia reaffirmed their common commitment to reaching a comprehensive, sustainable and mutually beneficial agreement on the filling and operation of the Renaissance Dam.
The meetings followed the agreement reached between the foreign ministers of the three countries in Washington this month.
The Foreign Ministers of Egypt (Sameh Shoukry), Ethiopia (Judo Andargashio) and Sudan (Asma Mohammed Abdullah) and their delegations met US Treasury Secretary, Steve Mnuchin and World Bank President, David Malbas, on November 6th, in Washington.
In a joint statement published by the US Treasury Department, the ministers confirmed their country's commitment to a comprehensive, sustainable and mutually beneficial cooperation agreement on the filling and operation of the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, noting the establishment of a clear mechanism to fulfil that commitment, in accordance with the 2015 Declaration of Principles.
The Foreign Ministers announced their agreement to hold four technical meetings at the level of Ministers of Irrigation and Water Resources, with the participation of the World Bank and the US as observers.
The ministers agreed to work to reach an agreement on the GERD by January 15th, after attending two meetings in Washington on December 9th and January 13th, to assess and support progress in the agreement.
Addis Ababa says the $4 billion power generation project is vital to generating the electricity that Ethiopia lacks, but Egypt fears the project could negatively affect the flow of the Nile, which supplies about 90% of its water supply.