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Egypt’s FM heads to Washington for final deal on GERD talks due on Feb. 28-29

CAIRO- 25 February 2020: Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry headed Tuesday to Washington D.C where a tripartite meeting between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia will be held under the brokerage of the US and the World Bank to reach a final agreement on the rules of filling and operating the controversial Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).
Washington will host the two-day meetings on Feb. 28-29, according to a statement from Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ahmed Hafez o Tuesday.
Shoukry’s visit came a day after The three countries received the US draft of the final agreement on the rules of filling and operating the Dam.
In a press conference held on Monday in Khartoum, Sudanese Minister of Water Yasser Abbas announced that Washington has handed down Cairo, Khartoum, and Addis Ababa the draft on the final agreement and the three government will study it before their meeting due on Feb.28, 2020 in Washington.

Two days ago during his meeting with Hailemariam Desalegn, former Prime Minister of Ethiopia and the special envoy of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, President Abdel Fatah al- Sisi affirmed Egypt’s commitment to the success of the ongoing negotiations between the three countries.
Following the final round of the three Nile Basin countries and the US and WB representatives on Feb. 12-13, the three countries announced that they reached initial agreement on some points of differences on the Dam construction.
"The ministers reviewed the progress achieved by their technical and legal teams and continued their discussions on the remaining issues necessary for a final agreement. The ministers reaffirmed the importance of trans-boundary cooperation in the development of the Blue Nile to improve the lives of the people of Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan, and their shared commitment to concluding an agreement," the U.S. Department of Treasury said in a statement on February 14, 2020.
The agreement "includes the dam’s stage-based filling plan, and specific procedures to deal with droughts, prolonged droughts, and dry years that may coincide with the filling process, in addition to the long-term operationalization rules, including the GERD operationalization under normal hydrological conditions, as well as procedures for dealing with droughts, prolonged droughts, and dry years," said Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ahmed Hafez in a statement.
The difference between the three Nile basin countries dates back to May 2011 when Ethiopia started building the dam; Egypt voiced concern over its water share [55.5 billion cubic meters]. Three years later, a series of tripartite talks between the two countries along with Sudan began to reach an agreement while Ethiopia continued the dam construction.
In 2015, the three countries signed the Declaration of Principles, per which the downstream countries [Egypt and Sudan] should not be negatively affected by the construction of the dam. Since then, the talks have been resumed, but In October 2019 blamed Addis Ababa for hindering a final agreement concerning a technical problem, calling for activating the Article No. 10 of the Declaration of Principles, which stipulates that if the three countries could not find a solution to these differences, they have to ask for mediation.
Additional reporting by Samar Samir