Tripartite Negotiations on GERD Encouraging, Agreement Expected Next Month


Ena  December  24/2019 The tripartite negotiations of Sudan, Egypt, and Ethiopia on the filling and operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) are expected to culminate in agreement next month, Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy disclosed.

Briefing journalists today, Water, Irrigation and Energy Minister Sileshi Bekele said the negotiation held in Khartoum is encouraging as Egypt dropped some of the irrelevant issues.

According to him, Egypt has dropped its previous request that Ethiopia releases 49 billion cubic meters of water annually.  

The proposal of the Egyptian side last August was Ethiopia releases 49 billion cubic meters and to only release water until the Aswan Dam is as high as 165 meters, he explained.

Ethiopia considers a drought situation when the river provides water below 35 billion cubic meters, but Egypt below 40 billion cubic meters.

“On our part, we think this needs no negotiation as we have started filling the dam. But the Egyptian side have raised the concern what could happen if the Aswan Dam reached shut down level of operation,” Sileshi stated.

Ethiopia has prepared and presented appropriate matrix that allows the generating of energy while downstream countries benefit from the water without any significant harm, the minister elaborated.

He further noted that the release of water during "the defined drought years" benefits the downstream countries by preserving the water that could have evaporated and provide them the opportunity of drought resilience.

Egypt has recently come up with the term "natural flow of the Nile River" to be included in the agreement, but this was not accepted as it undermines the right of Ethiopia to benefit from the Nile, according to Sileshi.

Asked about the involvement of the World Bank and the US in the negotiation, he stated that “this in fact was a blessing in disguise as their mere attendance had significant contribution in conducting the negotiation smoothly.”

The minister expressed his hope that the three countries will reach an agreement in the next round of talks scheduled to take place from January 8-9 in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.

Ethiopian News Agency