A meeting between ministers of Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan held in Khartoum over the impact of the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) has come to an end but without any breakthrough, sources disclosed.
Ethiopia’s ministers of Foreign Affairs and Water, Irrigation & Electricity, Worqneh Gebeyehu (PhD) and Sileshi Bekele (PhD), respectively, are in Khartoum leading a delegation to negotiate on the impacts of the dam on the riparian countries. It is a follow up to an agreement between heads of state of the three countries met in Addis Abeba in January 2018, on a sideline of the AU Summit.
Although the meeting stayed up until 3:30am, the talk was stalled because Worqneh remained firm not to give in to Egypt’s demand that Ethiopia recognizes the 1959 agreement signed with Sudan on the Nile.
“There was an obvious lack of goodwill,” said a diplomat who described the talk as tense. “Egypt technically wanted Ethiopia respect the colonial agreement which is a red-liner. It’s the final line Worqneh would want to cross.”
The deadlock came after Egypt put its desire in the disclaimer on a draft agreement, which comprises cooperation on joint infrastructure fund as well as trade and investment, these sources disclosed. Egyptian negotiators were seen pushing for political settlement, overcoming recommendations at a technical committee level, a diplomat said.
The resumption of the tripartite talks will have ti require the meeting of the heads of state, according to diplomatic sources.