Egypt accepts Ethiopia-Sudan proposal to resume negotiation over dam dispute

Egypt said it is willing to resume negotiations with Sudan and Ethiopia over the filling of the controversial Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), state-run Ahram newspapers reported on Friday.

“Egypt is always ready to enter into negotiations and participate in upcoming meetings between the ministers of irrigations of the three countries,” the Egyptian foreign ministry said in a statement.

It added that “serious and constructive talks would contribute to a fair, balanced, and comprehensive agreement.”

The ministry said the agreement would have to take into account “Egypt’s water interests as well as those of Ethiopia and Sudan.”

The statement came after the announcement on Thursday by Khartoum and Addis Ababa “to resume technical discussions about the filling and operation of the dam.”

On Thursday, Prime Minister of Sudan Abdalla Hamdok and Prime Minister of Ethiopia Abiy Ahmed held an online meeting and agreed to resume the talks in order to reach a final agreement on the filling and operation policies of the GERD.

The meeting came after Addis Ababa said it would not delay filling the GERD, which it began constructing in 2011.

Both Egypt and Sudan fear the reservoir, which has a capacity of 74 billion cubic meters, will impact their essential water supplies.

Hamdok and Abiy’s talks were the first after a diplomatic spat that broke out between Egypt and Ethiopia reached the United Nations Security Council.

The negotiations between the three countries reached a deadlock last February after Ethiopia skipped the final round of talks in Washington.