Second round of talks between Egypt Ethiopia and Sudan on Grand Renaissance Dam inconclusive

10 Oct 2023 by The Water Diplomat

On the 23rd of September Ethiopia announced that it had commenced a second round of trilateral negotiations between Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia  on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), which has been a source of conflict between the countries. However, this second round of negotiations ended on the 25th of September without any conclusive results. The talks follow from an agreement made in July between Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to finalise an agreement on the dam within four months of dialogue, commencing in August.

On September 10th, Egypt had voiced its anger when Ethiopia announced that it had completed the filling of the hydroelectric dam, which started generating electricity in February 2022. The Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced on Facebook that “the continuation of filling the GERD’s reservoir without an agreement with the downstream countries constitutes a violation of the Declaration of Principles and a breach of legality”. Egypt and Sudan, being located downstream of the dam, fear that the dam will reduce their share of the water in the Nile River and have often requested Ethiopia to stop filling the dam until agreement is reached over the sharing of the waters of the river.

More than 90% of Egypt’s water needs are covered using water from the Nile but, so far, negotiation efforts have not led to concrete results. Last year, The Water Diplomat reported that Egypt had submitted a complaint to the UN Security Council based on its charge that Ethiopia was refusing to share its plans for the dam, which they viewed as essential for a project of this magnitude. The African Union had also attempted to facilitate an agreement between the countries in early 2022 but had been unsuccessful. At the time, the UN Security Council referred Egypt back to the African Union, stating that it was the appropriate body to deal with this issue.