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The latest rounds of tripartite negotiations between Ethiopia, Egypt, and Sudan over filling and operating the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) concluded yesterday in Cairo, Egypt, with another round planned for September 2023 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. During the two-day talks, the countries focused on resolving outstanding issues related to the filling of the dam reservoir and its future annual operation.

Ethiopia’s lead negotiator Sileshi Bekele posted on X(Formerly Twitter) that some progress was made. “We have discussed several clauses and continue negotiations to reach a full agreement,” he said, though he did not provide specifics on potential agreements or remaining differences.

“Ethiopia negotiates in good faith, where great benefit of the GERD to Ethiopians is realized, cooperation among our riparian states is enhanced based on principles that ensure fair and reasonable use of Nile water in the future,” Sileshi added.

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The construction of the GERD on the Blue Nile has increased tensions between Ethiopia and downstream nations Egypt and Sudan concerned about their water supplies. For years, the three countries have engaged in intermittent negotiations brokered by the African Union to reach a deal on filling and operation of the massive hydropower dam project.

However, key issues around the timeline for reservoir filling and handling drought conditions remained unsolved. The next round of negotiations is scheduled for September in Addis Ababa, where discussions will continue towards an agreement that satisfies Ethiopia’s interest in dam development while also addressing neighbors’ concerns about their water needs.

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