Cairo, Nov 5 (IANS) Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan have failed to agree on a methodology for completing their negotiations over the disputed Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on the Nile river.
On Wednesday, the Water Ministers of the three countries held a virtual meeting to discuss the optimal framework for managing the ongoing negotiations over the GERD, which take place under the auspices of the African Union (AU), reports Xinhua news agency.
“It turned out during the discussions that the three countries disagree on the methodology for completing the negotiations in the next stage,” said Egypt’s Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation.
The three countries agreed that each will submit a report to South Africa, the current chair of the AU, over the details of their meetings, according to the statement.
The reports will also include their proposals on ways to implement the outcomes of two former summit meetings of the AU Bureau in June and July, which stated that the three countries would conclude a binding legal agreement on the rules of filling and operating the GERD.
Ethiopia, an upstream Nile Basin country, started building the GERD in 2011, raising Egypt’s concerns that it might affect the country’s 55.5-billion-cubic-meter annual share of Nile water.
Sudan, Egypt’s fellow downstream country, has recently been raising similar concerns over the 4-billion-dollar dam.
Over the past few years, tripartite talks on the rules of filling and operating the GERD, whose reservoir’s total capacity is 74 billion cubic meters, have been fruitless, including those brokered by Washington and recently by the AU.
Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia have been negotiating under the sponsorship of the African Union over the technical and legal issues related to the filling and operation of the GERD.
Ethiopia, which started building the GERD in 2011, expects to produce over 6,000 megawatts of electricity from the project to push the country’s development forward.
However, Egypt and Sudan, both downstream Nile Basin countries that rely on the Nile river for water, are concerned that the dam might affect their Nile water share.