By Staff Reporter
November 15, 2019 (Ezega.com) -- Water ministers of Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt are meeting in Addis Ababa to reach an agreement on the filling and operation of the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).
This round of tripartite negotiation involved observers from the U.S. government and World Bank based on the agreement reached by foreign ministers of the three countries in Washington DC, USA, earlier last week.
Opening the meeting, Ethiopia’s Minister of Water Irrigation and Energy, Seleshi Bekele said that the technical meeting followed the Washington DC meeting and would dwell on contentious issues of the filling of GERD.
“We would like to build on previous negotiations and agreed upon political principles to resolve pending issues,” he said.
According to the Ethiopian water minister, the GERD has reached 69.37 percent completion as the electro-mechanical work of the dam stands at 29 percent completion.
“We call upon the observers from U.S. government and the World Bank to remain neutral in the course of the negotiations,’’ the minister said.
Mohammed Abdel Aty, Egypt’s minister of Water Resources and Irrigation, on his part, said he is optimistic that the negotiation would reach “a win-win solution without causing significant harm on the parties involved.”
"This round of talks is unique in that the negotiation will be made in the presence of US and World Bank observers based on the agreement reached by our leaders in the US," Abdel added
“We believe a fair and balanced solution would also be helpful to Ethiopia,” he added.
Sudan’s Water Minister Yasser Abbas also expressed optimism and said: “The meeting would come out with a just proposal on the filling and cooperation on GERD.”
GERD is Ethiopia’s mega power project which is being built at a cost of $5 billion since 2011.
Egypt, which receives more than 85 percent of water from the Nile, fears that GERD would significantly harm its water share. The tripartite negotiations that began in 2013 failed to bear results.
Earlier in November, the U.S. government invited Ethiopia, Sudan, and Egypt to resume the stalled talks and the three countries agreed to talk more and began the negotiation on Friday in Addis Ababa.
The Minister also agreed to work toward completion of an agreement by January 15, 2020, and would attend two meetings in Washington, DC on December 9 and January 13, 2020 to assess and support progress.
It is to be recalled that the Ethiopian Minister of Water, Irrigation and Energy this week announced the completion of construction of the saddle dam of the hydro-power project.
The completion of the 50m high and 5.2km long concrete faced rockfill dam (CRFD) is an important milestone for the project, Sileshi said on Twitter
The ancillary work to the GERD such as grouting and finishing works on audits will be finalized soon, the Minister added.
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