US mediated GERD talks end in stalemate

APA-Addis Ababa (Ethiopia)

The final US mediated talks on Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) that Ethiopia is building on Nile ended in stalemate.

Fitsum Arega, Ethiopian Ambassador to the United States, said “the final round of meeting that has been held in Washington DC on February 12 and 13, 2020 between Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt on GERD also ended without agreement.”

The three countries have been holding talks for almost nine years since the beginning of the construction of the GERD on the Nile River in 2011.

An Ethiopian official who was taking part in the tripartite discussion told local media on condition of anonymity that Egypt, Sudan, US and World Bank wanted to dwell on share of Nile water as opposed to agreed negotiating points.

According to the official, Sudan which had the same stand with Ethiopia in the previous negotiations switched side to Egypt for undisclosed reasons.

The official said US and the World Bank rejected the planned negotiating points involving legal and technical documents to deal with droughts of varying magnitude that may occur in the future and have impact volume of water reaching to the downstream countries.

The three countries reached no agreement on any of the contentious legal issues that have foiled the technical negotiation rounds during the past two months. Overall, disagreements over the $5 billion dam have been ongoing for nine years.

Egypt said it depends on the Nile for about 90 percent of its needs for irrigation and drinking water and says it has "historic rights" to the river guaranteed.

Ethiopia claimed the GERD project will cause insignificant harm on the downstream countries but would help provide electricity to over 60 million people.


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