Trilateral Ministerial Meeting to Begin in Washington D.C

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January 28/2020 Foreign and Water ministers of Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan will begin talks in Washington D.C. on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) today. 

The ministers are expected to finalize a comprehensive agreement on the filling and operation of the GERD, accompanied by the technical and legal teams of the three countries.

They are set to discuss technical and legal draft agreements prepared last week by trilateral ministerial technical experts in Khartoum, Sudan.

The Ethiopian team led by Foreign Minister, Gedu Andargachew, is composed of Water, Irrigation and Energy Minister, Seleshi Bekele, water engineers and lawyers that arrived in Washington DC for the two-day talks.

Water, Irrigation and Energy Minister, Seleshi Bekele, twitted that the meeting will focus on reviewing the legal write up of the agreement on filling and operation that started in Khartoum last week.

The minister added that the draft was based on the already technically negotiated results.

Sileshi noted that the main elements of the technical results include principles, filling stages, retained volumes of water in the dam, reservoir operation, drought and its management, data exchange and coordination mechanisms.

Following thorough discussions in the US, Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan issued a joint statement that lays the framework for a final agreement.

The three countries agreed that the dam would be filled in stages; and that it would only take place in the wet season.

GERD, which is a flagship project on the Blue Nile, promises to connect the 100+ million Ethiopian population, who still remain off the grid without causing significant harm to the lower Nile riparian countries.

So, experts recommend that building flexible, legal and institutional arrangements into the new accord is crucial to resolve differences on the use of Nile waters.

The United States Secretary of the Treasury and the President of the World Bank (WB) will attend the talks as observers, it was learned.