A general view of the Blue Nile river as it passes through the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), near Guba in Ethiopia, on December 26, 2019. - The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, a 145-metre-high, 1.8-kilometre-long concrete colossus is set to become the largest hydropower plant in Africa. (AFP)

Egypt has agreed with Ethiopia and Sudan to prioritize reaching a binding deal on the filling and operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), Egyptian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.

During an African mini-summit on the GERD controversial issues on Tuesday, “the three countries agreed to resume the negotiations to reach a binding legal framework that guarantees a mechanism to settle any future disputes,” said Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed Hafez in a statement.

The mini-summit was hosted by South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa, the current head of the African Union, with the participation of President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, with five other African heads of state as observers.

“During the meeting, the three countries agreed to concentrate the negotiations on the GERD as a body for generating electricity, not for consuming the water,” Hafez added.

Hafez noted that the three sides will crystalize later a comprehensive deal that covers all faces of cooperation for enhancing their partnership relations.

Ethiopia, which started building the 4-billion-dollar GERD in 2011, expects to produce over 6,000 megawatts of electricity to push the development in the country forward.

Meanwhile, Egypt, a downstream Nile Basin country that relies on the river for its fresh water, is concerned that the dam might affect its 55.5-billion-cubic-meter annual share of the water resources. Enditem

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