No tangible results achieved in recent Addis Ababa tripartite meeting

The tripartite technical meeting of Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, which was held over the last couple of days by the irrigation ministers of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan, was ended in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on Sunday, with no tangible results.

Ethiopia holds onto its position on the initial technical report, which qualifies for the preparation of the technical report that defines the safe path of the dam.

A nine-sided meeting, which will be attended by foreign ministers, irrigation ministers and heads of intelligence services of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan, has been set to be held on May 15.

The Ethiopian position is still in line with the Sudanese position as both object to the Cairo-accepted initial report. Disagreement continued on the report throughout the tripartite meeting which was held in Khartoum.

The Sudanese Ministry of Irrigation and Water Resources Paul Mayom Akec announced in a statement Sunday that Sudan presented to Egypt and Ethiopia at the end of the meeting a proposal to hold another tripartite technical meeting for irrigation ministers before holding the nine-sided meeting, according to government run Sudan News Agency.

Ethiopia announced that the tripartite technical meeting has discussed issues that guarantee the common interests of the three countries.

The Ethiopian News Agency (ENA) quoted the Ethiopian Minister of Water and Irrigation, Seleshi Bekele, as saying that the coming period will witness preparations for the political talks between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia on the nine-sided meeting.

At the end of the tripartite meeting, the three countries passed their comments on the initial report prepared by the French advisory office. The report was rejected by Ethiopia and Sudan in November, Sudanese Ashorooq newspaper said.

The paper added that the ministers of irrigation and water of the three countries are keen to continue cooperation, and to complete the studies recommended by the International Committee of Experts by responding to the concerns of the three countries without harming any country.

The 18th meeting of the tripartite technical committee on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) started on Saturday in Addis Ababa with the participation of water and irrigation ministers of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan, as well as members of the committee. The meetings were held over two days.

The meetings were attended by Minister of Irrigation Mohamed Abdel Aati, his Ethiopian and Sudanese counterparts Sileshi Bekele, and Moataz Moussa respectively, in an effort to resolve the differences concerning the initial report prepared by the French consultancy office.

In his speech at the opening session, Ethiopian Minister Bekele expressed hope that the meeting would discuss the controversial issues “in a positive spirit” to reach consensus outcomes.

The last round of talks in April failed to reach consensus over the disagreements between the three countries.

Ethiopia began constructing GERD in 2011. Upon completion, it is set to become the largest dam in Africa. GERD will cost $4.7 billion in total to build, and Ethiopia plans to fill the reservoir with water.

However, Egypt has been particularly critical of the dam’s construction, arguing that it will reduce its legitimate share of River Nile water access, and thus threaten its water security.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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