CAIRO - 1 November 2020: Tripartite talks between Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia on the controversial Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) kick off on Sunday.
The Sunday talks come in light of the outcomes of a tripartite meeting held on October 27, 2020, held between the foreign and water ministers of the three countries under the chairmanship of Jay Bandura, the Minister of International Cooperation of the Republic of South Africa.
During this one-week round, the three countries would discuss a clear and detailed agenda and a tight timetable for the path of negotiation, according to a statement by the Sudanese Ministry of Eater Resources.
The talks resumption after a 7-month break under the auspices of the African Union.
The conflict 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.
Washington had brokered a tripartite discussion between the three countries, in presence of the President of the World Bank (WB) starting from November 6, 2019 until February 27 and 28, 2020 when Ethiopia apologized for being absent from the negotiations. During these rounds of talks, tangible outcomes were agreed on among the three parties concerning the rules and mechanism of operating the dam and the filling process of the reservoir during the drought and prolonged drought; however, the Ethiopian and Sudanese refused to sign the US/WB-drafted deal.