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Egypt: No breakthrough in negotiations on Ethiopia's Nile dam

Christian Fernsby |
The two-day round of talks, which was held in Cairo, did not address the technical aspects of the filling and operation of the dam, said a statement of the ministry.

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Topics: EGYPT   ETHIOPIA    NILE    DAM   

Technical negotiations between irrigation ministers of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan over the filling and operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) built on their shared Nile River made no breakthrough, Egyptian irrigation ministry said on Monday.

The talks focused on "procedural aspects," said the statement.

"The meetings did not touch upon substantive issues because of Ethiopia's refusal to discuss the proposal Egypt offered to the two countries," the statement said.

Egypt's proposal is based on its relevant former discussions with Ethiopia and the "declaration of principles" signed in March 2015 by the leaders of the three countries, which states that the three sides have to agree on the rules of filling and operating the dam.

Ethiopia started building the dam in 2011 and it is expected to produce over 6,000 megawatts of electricity and to be Africa's largest hydropower dam upon completion.

Egypt, a downstream Nile Basin country, is concerned that the construction of the GERD might affect its 55.5-billion-cubic-meter annual share of the river water. Meanwhile, upstream Ethiopia and downstream Sudan eye massive future benefits through the dam.

Filling the reservoir, whose total capacity is 74 billion cubic meters, may take several years. While Ethiopia asked to fill it in five-six years, Egypt seeks to prolong the period to avoid the negative effects of water shortage, which is a main point of their talks.

In light of this stumble, the statement said, it was decided to hold an urgent meeting of the independent scientific group in Khartoum from Sept. 30 to Oct. 3 to discuss the Egyptian proposal for the rules of filling and operation of the dam.

The Sudanese and Ethiopian proposals will also be discussed during the meetings in Khartoum, the statement revealed.

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