EU calls for resumption of Ethiopia dam talks

An agreement on the filling of GERD is within the reach of Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt. Now is the time for action and not for increasing tensions,” says EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell called for the resumption of the negotiations mediated by the African Union (AU) on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), to reach a deal on filing the disputed dam.

“An agreement on the filling of GERD is within the reach of Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt. Now is the time for action and not for increasing tensions,” Borrell said in a statement on Saturday.

Borell stressed the efforts of South Africa, current Chair of the African Union, to bring the parties to a negotiated solution have the full support of the European Union.

He said the European body “looks forward to the imminent resumption and successful conclusion of the talks.”

The recent round of talks mediated by AU, and observed by the US, the EU, the AU and the AU Commission, has come to a close in late August without reaching a consensus on the legal and technical points of contention.

“Over 250 million citizens of the Blue Nile Basin stand to benefit from a predictable agreement based on a negotiated arrangement for the filling of the Grand

Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) and are expecting investments in water security, irrigation, agricultural production and electricity generation,” EU foreign policy chief added.

Cairo and Khartoum have been in talks with Addis Ababa for years now to reach a legally binding agreement on the filling and operating of the massive hydropower dam Ethiopia is building on the Blue Nile.

The AU had stepped in the near decade-long dispute as the previous rounds of negotiations deadlocked more than once.

The talks, however, were halted in August when Sudan called for a suspension of meetings to allow for consultations after Addis Ababa had proposed a package of non-binding guidelines for the filling and operation of the mega-dam.

Cairo fears the project will significantly cut its crucial water supplies from the River Nile, while Sudan has concerns on how the reservoir will be managed. Ethiopia says the massive project, which it hopes will make it Africa’s largest power exporter, is key to its development efforts.

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