CAIRO, Oct. 28 (Xinhua/GNA) – Sudan will propose further week-long talks to continue preparing the draft for a final agreement over Ethiopia’s giant Nile River dam, said the Egyptian Water Ministry has said.
The decision was made at the trilateral virtual meeting held on Tuesday among Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan over Ethiopia’s Nile dam.
Sudan will call for the week-long round of negotiations as it currently holds the rotating presidency of the meetings among the three countries, said the Egyptian Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation in a statement.
On Tuesday, a videoconference meeting among the Foreign and Water Ministers of the three states was held under sponsorship of the African Union (AU) and with the participation of monitors from the African body, the European Union and the United States.
The meeting addressed the way of re-launching the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD)-related negotiations among the three states, according to the statement.
During the meeting, Egypt stressed the importance of « reaching a binding legal agreement on filling and operating the GERD that achieves the common interests of the three countries and securing their water interests, » said the Egyptian Ministry.
Hours before the virtual negotiations, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi held talks in Cairo with Chairman of Sudan’s Sovereign Council Abdel-Fattah al-Burhan, where they expressed commitment to reaching a binding agreement over the rules of filling and operating the GERD.
Earlier in October, Sisi held talks in Cairo with his Kenyan counterpart Uhuru Kenyatta on the disputed dam, and later in mid-October he received a phone call from South African President Cyril Ramaphosa over the issue.
The resumed talks came a few days after U.S. President Donald Trump blamed Ethiopia for the failure of previous negotiations over the GERD. « It’s a very dangerous situation because Egypt is not going to be able to live that way, » Trump told Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok in a recent phone call, saying Egypt may « end up blowing up the dam. » Ethiopia later summoned U.S. ambassador over Trump’s remarks.
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 hosted by Washington and recently by the AU.