The water ministers of Sudan and Egypt arrived on Tuesday in Addis Ababa to attend the final and the fourth technical meeting on GERED negotiation. Representatives of the US and the World Bank also participated in the meeting having an observer role.
According to reports, the two days meeting focuses on filling and operating of the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).
Ethiopia has been building a $5bn dam on river Nile to address its electric power needs. The project faced opposition from downstream countries, especially from Egypt, alleging the dam could reduce its share of the river. On the other side, Addis Ababa claimed that it has the right to benefit from the Nile without harming the downstream.
After some informal remarks had been heard from authorities of the two countries, the United States called a meeting last November as requested by Egypt. The meeting in Washington has put a roadmap to have consecutive meetings with the attendance of the US and World Bank. And that meeting has set a deadline of 15 January for resolving the dispute. Addis Ababa, Cairo, and Khartoum hosted the consecutive meetings, respectively.
In the current meeting which has kicked off in Ethiopia, the three nations expected to finalize technical negotiations. And on January 13, the foreign ministers of the three countries will meet in Washington to try to agree to address the dispute. If the countries failed to reach an agreement, then they will look for mediation, or they will refer it to their heads of state or prime ministers.
Ethiopia needs the dam, which generates 6000 megawatts of power to achieve its plan of becoming the powerhouse of Africa. Egypt proposes for a long term filling and operation of the dam, allowing the annual normal flow of the river. But the Ethiopian side considers Egypt’s proposal as “unfair,” and it “undermines the sovereignty of the country.”