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No agreement so far on GERD technical, legal points: Egypt
Published in Ahram Online on 09 - 07 - 2020

Egypt's irrigation ministry said on Thursday that no consensus has yet been reached by Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia on any of the technical or legal issues concerning the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), on the seventh consecutive day of talks on the hydropower project.
The three countries have been holding the virtual talks, sponsored by the African Union, with the aim of reaching an accord on the mega-dam. Up to 11 observers representing the EU, the US, the AU Commission, South Africa and the AU's legal and technical experts are attending the online talks.
The Egyptian ministry said in the statement that the three countries' irrigation ministers on Thursday covered the discussions held on Tuesday between the three countries and the experts over the legal and technical disagreements, in an attempt to approximate the points of contention on these areas.
They also reviewed a letter from South Africa, the current chair of the African Union, which requested each of the three countries present a factual report on the progress made during the talks, and asked that a final report be submitted on Monday, the statement said.
The three ministers also agreed to send their factual reports separately to South Africa on Thursday, while the discussions on the technical and legal will continue until 13 July, the statement noted.
The technical and legal committees will convene again on Friday, the statement said, while the three countries will meet separately with the observers on Saturday.
On Sunday, meetings of the three ministers will be held, the statement said.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said previously that his country is set to start filling the dam's reservoir to take advantage of the current heavy rain season, regardless of whether an agreement is reached with Egypt and Sudan.
Both Egypt and Sudan have repeatedly called on Ethiopia not to take any unilateral action concerning the filling of the dam.
Egypt, which relies on the Nile for 95 percent of its freshwater, fears the dam will significantly reduce the river's flow, especially during the filling stages through periods of drought and dry years. Ethiopia, on the other hand, says the project is key to its development efforts.

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