Egypt Watch

New round of Renaissance Dam negotiations in Addis Ababa

The Ethiopian Capital Addis Ababa has hosted the first of four meetings between the ministers of water and irrigation in Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan. This round was observed by representatives from the US and the World Bank due to the failure of previous negotiations. Egypt requested international mediation and the US intervened.

This meeting comes two days after the official announcement by Ethiopia about the completion of the Serg Dam, a complementary dam to the Renaissance Dam. Ethiopia stated that this dam is a milestone in the Renaissance Dam project. 

An Egyptian water expert said that this dam isn’t a separate dam, it’s one of the components of the Renaissance Dam and a key part of the project. He added that after building this dam the restoration capacity of the Renaissance Dam rose from 11 to 74 billion cubic metres.

During the meeting a new negotiation process is expected to be discussed about the mechanisms of filling and operating the dam. In previous negotiations Ethiopia refused Egyptian demands to fill the dam within seven years and guarantee 40 billion cubic metres annually whilst it was in operation. Ethiopia insisted on filling the dam in three years and guaranteeing 31 billion cubic metres only.                                  

On November 6 in Washington the three countries agreed to hold new negotiations under the supervision of US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to conclude a new agreement by mid-January 2020. The agreement was supposed to determine the rules of filling and operating the dam. 

Four meetings will be held about the technical negotiations among the ministers with the participation of the US and the World Bank as observers. Washington will host two other meetings on 9 and 13 December to follow developments.