A new round of talks on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) kicked off on Tuesday in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa with participation of senior officials from Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia.

Foreign ministers, ministers of water resources and intelligence chiefs from the three countries attended the second tripartite high-level ministerial meeting, which aims to foster collaboration and resolve differences on the dam’s construction. The first tripartite high level ministerial meeting was held in Khartoum, Sudan in April.

Opening the ministerial meeting, Ethiopian foreign minister Workneh Gebeyehu said Ethiopia is hosting the meeting with hopes that agreement will be reached that benefits the peoples of the three nations.

The tripartite meeting comes in the backdrop of tensions between the three countries with Egypt accusing Ethiopia and Sudan of stalling on negotiations to study the impact of GERD.

Sudan and Ethiopia have issued statements rejecting Egyptian allegations and affirmed commitment to continue negotiations on GERD.

Ethiopia and Sudan eye massive benefits from the GERD construction, while Egypt is concerned that it might affect its 55.5-billion-cubic-meter annual share of the Nile River water.

GERD, which will be Africa’s largest dam upon completion with a total volume of 74 billion cubic meters, was started in April 2011 with a cost of about 4.7 billion U.S. dollars. The GERD construction is currently 66 percent complete.

Ethiopia hopes GERD will provide a constant supply of clean and affordable power and accelerate its shift from an agricultural economy to an industrial powerhouse. Enditem


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