Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan have reached an agreement at the conclusion of meetings held in the US regarding the filling and operating of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), a joint statement from the convening parties said on Friday.
The Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Water Resources from Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan and their delegations met with the US Secretary of the Treasury and the President of the World Bank on the filling and operation of GERD, in Washington, DC during meetings held throughout January 28-31.
According to the joint statement, the ministers reached an agreement on the following issues, subject to the final signing of the comprehensive agreement: a schedule for a stage based filling plan for the GERD, a mitigation mechanism for filling the GERD during periods of drought, prolonged drought, and prolonged dry years; and a mitigation mechanism for the annual and long-term operation of the GERD in drought, prolonged drought, and prolonged periods of dry years.
They also discussed and agreed upon finalizing a mechanism for the annual and long-term operation of the GERD in normal hydrological conditions, a coordination mechanism, and provisions for the resolution of disputes and sharing information.
Moreover, they also agreed to address dam safety and pending studies on the GERD’s environmental and social impacts.
The ministers instructed their technical and legal teams to prepare the final agreement, which shall include the agreements reached above, for a signing of the three countries by the end of February.
The ministers recognize the significant regional benefits that will result from this agreement and from the operation of the dam with respect to transboundary cooperation, regional development and economic integration.
They reaffirmed the importance of transboundary cooperation in the development of the Blue Nile to improve the lives of people in Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan.
Washington first hosted the GERD talks on November 6, 2019 between the delegations of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan, attended by the US Secretary of State and the president of the World Bank Group.
The delegations of the three countries continued to hold several meetings in Cairo, Addis Ababa, and Khartoum up until the agreement reached on Friday.
Since Ethiopia started constructing GERD, Egypt has voiced concern that the project would negatively impact its water supply. The other side stated the importance of this project to the Ethiopian economy.
Egypt depends on the Nile for freshwater.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm