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No deal yet on Nile talks, Ethiopia says

Ethiopian officials announced on Friday that negotiations between them and Sudan and Egypt that this past week in Washington ended without a final agreement on the longstanding Nile River dispute.

Officials from the three countries met February 12 to 13 to discuss the operation of Ethiopia’s Grand Renaissance Dam project on the Nile River.

Ethiopian Water Minister Seleshi Bekele indicated on his Twitter that progress had been made this week, but “more work is needed to reach an agreement by the end of the month.”

Bekele said that the Ethiopian Ministry of Water and Foreign Affairs “will hold national consultations within the next week to achieve consensus on the results and the way to forward.”

The Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that negotiations had been completed on the components of the agreement to fill and operate the Renaissance Dam.

According to the statement, these elements include filling the dam in stages, and specific procedures to deal with droughts, protracted droughts and scarce years that may coincide with the filling process of the dam.

The negotiations also touched on provisions related to dam safety and dealing with emergency situations, as well as a binding mechanism for resolving any disputes that may arise over the interpretation or application of this agreement.

The American side announced that it would work with the World Bank in finalising the agreement and presenting it to the three countries within the next few days.

In a joint statement released by the US Treasury Department website, following the conclusion of the latest round of negotiations, Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia announced that the final agreement would be signed before the end of February.

The US Treasury said in a statement Thursday that the ministers participating in this week’s talks “continued their discussions on the remaining issues necessary to reach a final agreement” and “stressed the importance of cross-border cooperation.”

“The United States, with technical support from the World Bank, has agreed to facilitate preparations for a final agreement that is being considered by ministers and leaders of countries to be finalised by the end of the month,” US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said.

The negotiations took place between the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Irrigation in Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia, under the auspices of US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and in the presence of representatives of the World Bank.

By The Eastafrican

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