Chairman of Sudanese Sovereignty Council of Sudan Abdel Fatah al-Burhan pays Egypt a state visit on Tuesday, the same day the foreign and irrigation ministers of both countries and Ethiopia are holding a meeting on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).
President of South Africa and African Union, Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa stated that the resumption of the new negotiations round affirms the confidence of the parties in the African-led negotiation process, in line with the Pan-African principle of African solutions to African problems.
According to Sudan News Agency (SUNA) Abbas affirmed that Tuesday meeting will aim at reaching new methods and approaches of negotiations on the dam based on granting experts and observers more effective role in order to achieve real and more advanced results and bringing countries’ point of views closer.
Sudanese Minister of Irrigation Yasser Abbas said in a message to the South African Minister of International Cooperation, that his country will take part in the new round of GERD negotiations; however, Sudan refuse to keep negotiating the same way in previous talks which led to a ‘dead end’.
The final results of the meeting will be provided to the three countries leaders to approve the new negotiations approach and announce a tight timetable.
Since 2014, Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan have entered into negotiations on the building of the dam to avoid any possible threats on the Nile downstream countries [Egypt and Sudan]. The latest round of talks, which convened early in June, reached a stalemate, and was followed by the Ethiopian unilateral act of filling the dam’s reservoir mid-July without reaching a final agreement with Egypt and Sudan. As a result, Egypt sought the United Nations Security Council’s intervention.
The dispute between Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia dates back to May 2011 when Ethiopia started building the dam; Egypt voiced concern over its water share [55.5 billion cubic meters]. Three years later, a series of tripartite talks between the two countries along with Sudan began to reach an agreement, while Ethiopia continued the dam construction.
In 2015, the three countries signed the Declaration of Principles, per which the downstream countries should not be negatively affected by the construction of the dam. In October 2019, Egypt blamed Addis Ababa for hindering a final agreement concerning a technical problem, calling for activating Article No. 10 of the Declaration of Principles, which stipulates that if the three countries could not find a solution to these disputes, they have to ask for mediation.
Constructions in the Grand Renaissance Dam started on April 2, 2011 at a cost of $4.8 billion. It was built by the Italian construction and engineering company Salini Impergilo. The Italian company is headquartered in Milan. The dam is located on the Blue Nile with a capacity of 74 billion cubic meters, and is expected to generate up to 6,000 megawatts of power.