Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan will meet in the United States again in January, in order to move past the impasse over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam and its impacts on Nile River water resources.
The January 13 meeting comes two days ahead of a target for an agreement, set by the parties in November during negotiations facilitated by U.S. Secretary of Treasury Steve Mnuchin and World Bank president David Malpass. Both parties, along with the three Nile River nations, issued a joint statement that praised the progress to date, particularly by the countries’ water resource ministers.
Two more technical meetings in Khartoum and Addis Ababa, geared toward finalizing an agreement, will come ahead of next month’s meeting in Washington.
“The rules and guidelines will include drought mitigation measures based upon the natural flow in the given year and water release rates from the GERD,” the statement said. “The implementation of these technical rules and guidelines for the filling and operation of the GERD will be undertaken by Ethiopia, and may be adjusted by the three countries, in accordance with the hydrological conditions in the given year.”
Ethiopia says it needs the 15,000 GWh of power per year the dam is expected to deliver for Ethiopians, but threats to the Blue Nile that potentially affect agriculture and water resources for Egypt and Sudan have made any agreement elusive for years now.
The countries previously said that if a deal is not reached by the January 15 deadline, the foreign ministers agree to international mediation in keeping with the provisions of an existing 2015 agreement.