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)

Egyptian water ministry said on Friday that no tangible progress has been made in the tripartite talks over the controversial Ethiopian Nile dam.

There are still “fundamental differences at the technical and legal levels” between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia over the filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), the ministry said in a statement.

The talks over the mega dam, being built by Ethiopia on the Nile River, were resumed Friday via video conference under the African Union mediation. “It has been agreed to continue the discussions on Saturday with the same mechanism in the presence of observers and experts,” the Egyptian ministry added.

Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia agreed late in June to form a committee of legal and technical experts from the three countries to finalize a binding agreement on the rules of filling and operating the GERD. The three countries have also agreed to refrain from taking any unilateral actions before reaching an agreement.

On June 20, Egypt submitted a request to the United Nations Security Council over the GERD, calling on the UN body to intervene “to emphasize the importance for Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan to continue negotiations with good will.”

Since June 9, the three countries have been holding regular video meetings to discuss the issues in the presence of observers from the United States, the EU Commission and South Africa.

Over the past few years, tripartite talks on the rules of filling and operating the grand hydropower dam, including those hosted by Washington, have been fruitless.

Ethiopia started building the GERD in 2011, while Egypt, a downstream Nile Basin country that relies on the river for its freshwater, is concerned that the dam might affect its 55.5-billion-cubic-meter annual share of the water resources of the river.

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