Sudanese minister: Great progress made in latest GERD talks

Construction workers are seen at a distance in a section of Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam, as it undergoes construction, during a media tour along the river Nile in Benishangul Gumuz Region, Guba Woreda, in Ethiopia March 31, 2015. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri
Grand Ethiopia Renaissance Dam (Mabote)

Sudanese Irrigation and Water Resources Minister Yasir Abbas on Sunday announced great progress among Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia on issues regarding the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

“The meetings witnessed great exchange of valuable and positive information, resulting in further rapprochement in the stances of the three countries,” said Abbas at a press conference in the capital Khartoum after the tripartite ministerial meetings.

“The three countries have presented proposals on the first filling and the annual operation of the dam,” he added.

The differences will be discussed in the fourth meeting slated January in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, the minister noted.

Khartoum hosted on Saturday and Sunday a meeting of irrigation ministers of Sudan, Ethiopia and Egypt to discuss issues regarding the GERD.

It is the third meeting held at the ministerial level as well as the level of the joint technical committees to reach an agreement on the issue of filling and operating the GERD before Jan. 15, 2020.

Representatives of the U.S. Treasury and the World Bank also attended the meeting.

In March 2015, leaders of Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia signed the Declaration of Principles committed to reaching an agreement regarding the GERD through cooperation.

Ethiopia started building the GERD in 2011, while Egypt, a downstream Nile Basin country that relies on the river for its fresh water, is concerned that the dam might affect its 55.5-billion-cubic-meter annual share of the water resources of the river.

The GERD, extending on an area of 1,800 square km, is scheduled to be completed in three years at a cost of 4.7 billion U.S. dollars.

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