Egypt, Ethiopia Fail to Reach Breakthrough in Dam Negotiations
In an effort to break the stalemate between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, the round of negotiations held between the three countries' foreign ministers, irrigation and water ministers, and heads of intelligence ended May 15 in Addis Ababa with the signing of a document containing five clauses.
The aim of the document is to create a new road map that would avoid procrastination and have the three countries renew their pledge to cooperate in accordance with the Declaration of Principles signed in March 2015.
However, while the document was issued after 16 hours of back-to-back meetings, it failed to resolve the fundamental differences between Egypt and Ethiopia over the technical studies aimed at determining the negative effects of the dam on Egypt. It also failed to reach an agreement over a storage and operation mechanism in the dam that would avoid causing severe damage to Cairo.
Yet still, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said the document was a success. "We have set a course to break the deadlock, and I trust that sincerity will lead to the conclusion of technical studies that will be of benefit to the three countries," he said during a press conference following the signing of the document.
Shoukry was referring to the deadlock that emanated from the last round of talks between the three countries and that led them to exchange media accusations.
Meanwhile, Ethiopia awaits the upcoming rainy season that begins in July in order to start storing water, complete the construction process at the Renaissance Dam site, conduct safety tests and start operating power turbines.
The initial amount of stored water is estimated at 14 billion cubic meters of water, which is the volume of water that the dam will prevent from reaching Egypt and Sudan.
Although observers expected these negotiations to achieve a breakthrough and agree on outstanding points, the outcome of the meetings held in Khartoum on April 5 and Addis Ababa on May 15 failed to produce specific results that would prove the negative effects of the dam on Egypt and prevent any serious harm resulting from the filling and dam operation process.
Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan failed to give a mandatory status to the report that will be issued by the new scientific group that will develop several filling scenarios. In other words, the work of this team will merely serve as a suggestion.
Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team