Egypt has rejected a proposal from Ethiopia to postpone tackling controversial points on the rules of filling and operating the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) until after an agreement is reached.
Ethiopia demanded to refer these issues to a technical committee that will be formed to follow up the implementation of the terms of the agreement, the Egyptian Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation, said in a statement.
However, the ministry said it had totally rejected the proposal, noting that such major technical issues could not be referred to the technical committee to be decided later after signing an agreement.
For the eighth day in a row, Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia have been engaged in talks which are sponsored by the African Union.
The talks, which are meant to bridge the gaps between the three countries, are also attended by experts from the U.S. and the European Union.
The ministry said Egypt had put forward some alternative formulations in an attempt to bring views closer regarding times of drought or extended drought, in addition to the annual filling and operation rules.
The ministry said that it had been agreed that Ethiopia would study the alternatives proposed by Egypt, adding that the Egyptian proposals would be tackled during a tripartite ministerial meeting that would be held on July 12, 2020.
It added that discussions of the legal committee made no progress on controversial points.
Over the past few years, tripartite talks on the rules of filling and operating Ethiopia’s grand hydropower dam have been fruitless, including those hosted by Washington, amid Egyptian concerns that the GERD would affect Egypt’s annual share of the Nile water.
Ethiopia recently said that it would soon start filling the reservoir, while Egypt has repeatedly warned against any unilateral action without a prior tripartite agreement.
The $4 billion GERD is expected to produce more than 6,000 megawatts of electricity and become Africa’s largest hydropower dam upon completion.
Filling the reservoir, whose total capacity is 74 billion cubic meters, may take several years.
Egypt seeks to prolong the period of filling process to avoid the possible impacts of water shortage, which is a main point of their talks.