Egypt, Ethiopia resume negotiations on disputed Nile dam

Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan resumed negotiations on a dam project on the Nile River’s main tributary on Sunday after more than two years of suspension. 

“Negotiations on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) resumed this Sunday morning in Cairo,” the Egyptian Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation said in a statement.

Last month, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed agreed during a summit of Sudan’s neighbors in Cairo to resume negotiations regarding the rules for filling and operating the dam.

Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Hani Sewilam underlined the importance of reaching a “balanced and legally binding agreement on the rules of filling and operation of the GERD, that caters to the interests and concerns of the three countries.”

He said Egypt believes that “there are multiple technical and legal solutions that meet the needs and interests of all three countries and that would enable reaching the requisite balanced agreement.”

The new round of negotiations came as Ethiopia is carrying out the fourth filling of the dam’s reservoir following the collapse of African Union-sponsored talks with Egypt in April 2021 to reach an agreement on the dam project.

Egypt and Ethiopia have been logged in a years-long dispute on the GERD on the Blue Nile, a tributary of the Nile River.

Egypt views the GERD as an existential threat to its water share from the Nile and wants Addis Ababa to reach a binding agreement on the filling and operation of the dam.

Ethiopia sees the dam as crucial for its development process and denies any harm to the water share of Egypt and Sudan, two downstream countries.

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