Ethiopia Says Final GERD Talks Ended in Deadlock

By Staff Reporter

GERD-meeting-DCFebruary 14, 2020 (Ezega.com) -- Ethiopia has said the final US-mediated talks with Egypt and Sudan over the filling and operations of a $5bn hydro-power dam that it is constructing on the Nile river have ended in deadlock. Ethiopian officials blamed other negotiating parties, the US and World Bank for the impasse.

Ethiopian Ambassador to the United States Fitsum Arega tweeted on Friday that the two-day negotiations held on February 12 and 13, 2020, in Washington DC ended without agreement.

Even though Fitsum did not details as to why the negotiations ended without an agreement, a member of the Ethiopian delegation in Washington DC on condition of anonymity said the tripartite discussion had missed its track as Egypt, Sudan, United States, and the World Bank diverted the negotiations to Nile water share.

The official described this round of GERD talks as “disaster” because it was taking place 1: 4 wherein Ethiopia stands on the one side and Egypt, Sudan, the US and World Bank on the other.

The official claimed the US and the World Bank rejected the planned negotiating points involving legal and technical documents to deal with droughts of varying magnitude that may occur in the future and have an impact on the volume of water reaching the downstream countries.

The three countries reached no agreement on any of the contentious legal issues that have foiled the technical negotiation rounds during the past two months. The dialogue over the $5 billion dam has been going on for nine years but without success.

Egypt said it depends on the Nile for about 90 percent of its needs for irrigation and drinking water and says it has "historic rights" to the river guaranteed.

Ethiopia claimed the GERD project will cause insignificant harm to downstream countries but would provide electricity to over 60 million people.

In a recent discussion with MPs, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed disclosed that Ethiopia had delayed the final agreement it was supposed to sign two weeks ago with Egypt and Sudan on filling and operations of the (GERD).

Ethiopia claimed the negotiations must be held on the principle of equitable and reasonable utilization and international law.

Once completed, GERD is projected to generate nearly 6000 megawatts of electricity. Ethiopia says the project will have a significant role in economic integrations among the horn and east African countries.

GERD, the largest hydropower project in Africa has reached 70% completion and is expected to be fully functional in 2023.

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