News: Ethiopia, Egypt, and Sudan embark on fourth round of GERD negotiations in Addis Abeba

The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) trilateral talks, involving Ethiopia, Egypt, and Sudan, entered their fourth round today in Addis Abeba (Photo: Seleshi Bekele/X)

Addis Abeba – The fourth round of trilateral negotiations involving Ethiopia, Egypt, and Sudan over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) began today in Addis Abeba. Ambassador Seleshi Bekele confirmed the initiation of talks to finalize guidelines and rules on the first filling and annual operation of the dam.

Representing Ethiopia, Ambassador Seleshi took to X (former Twitter) to announce the commencement of the negotiations, underscoring Ethiopia’s commitment to the principles established in the 2015 Declaration of Principles (DoP) concerning the GERD Project. He underscored Ethiopia’s dedication to reaching a consensus that ensures equitable and reasonable use of the Nile waters.

Ambassador Seleshi stated, “The ministerial meeting builds upon the foundation laid by previous sessions, including the technical group meeting held yesterday. The aim is to continue efforts towards convergence and a mutually beneficial resolution.”

These ongoing talks come on the heels of a joint statement issued on 13 July, 2023, by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and President Abdel Fattah el Sisi, in which both leaders expressed their intention to accelerate the negotiation process and reach an agreement within four months.

However, despite repeated rounds of negotiations since the July 2023 statement, the leaders of the Nile basin countries—Ethiopia, Egypt, and Sudan—have not yet finalized an agreement on the procedures for filling and operating the GERD. The most recent attempt in October 2023 concluded without a resolution, despite two days of intensive discussions.

The current negotiations are the latest in a series of discussions that have spanned over a decade as the three countries seek a cooperative solution to the GERD issue. Negotiations began in 2014 following the commencement of the dam’s construction by Ethiopia.

In 2015, the countries signed a declaration of principles to steer the negotiations. Yet, finding a mutually agreeable solution has remained challenging, with several unsuccessful mediation efforts over the years.

The African Union-led negotiations in 2021 did not result in a breakthrough. Most recently, talks hosted by the UAE in August 2022 failed to produce a draft agreement. AS

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