Negotiations between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia over the filling and operation of the controversial Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) have produced no results after seven straight days of talks, reported Daily News Egypt.
According to the report, Egypt’s Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation said on Thursday that the delegations of the three countries had agreed to send three separate reports on the talks and their viewpoints to South Africa, whose President Cyril Ramaphosa is the current chairman of the African Union (AU).
Egypt maintained that while Ethiopia stuck to its "inflexible" positions, Egypt had shown flexibility during the resumed tripartite talks, sponsored by the AU and other states' representatives and observers, wrote news outlet Xinhua.
Meanwhile, for Ethiopia, the construction and filling of the dam are not two separate events, one of the country's negotiators, Zerihun Abebe, told the BBC.
"The Egyptians tried to confuse the international community" by suggesting that they are different things, he added, and argued that the 2015 Declaration of Principles allowed for Ethiopia to go ahead.
According to the BBC, Ethiopia has said it will unilaterally start filling up the dam in the next few weeks to coincide with the rainy season, a process that is expected to take up to seven years.
Ethiopia’s US$4-billion hydroelectric dam is expected to produce 6,000 megawatts of electricity and become Africa's largest hydroelectric dam upon completion.
According to Daily News Egypt, during the Thursday talks, the delegates showcased the results of discussions by technical and legal teams on Tuesday to try and find commonality between the countries' positions.
This Saturday the delegations of each country will meet with the international observers separately. On Sunday, a ministerial meeting will be held in the hope of reaching a consensus.
The talks are expected to last until July 13.
The current round of talks was launched last Friday under the guidance of the AU after months of deadlocked negotiations between the three African nations.
According to an article published by Egypt Today, in 2015, the three countries signed the Declaration of Principles according to which the downstream countries should not be negatively affected by the construction of the dam.
In October 2019, Egypt blamed Addis Ababa for hindering a final agreement concerning a technical problem, calling for activating Article No. 10 of the Declaration of Principles, which stipulates that if the three countries cannot find a solution to these disputes, they have to ask for mediation, said the report.