The fresh round of talks between Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan on the water filling strategy and operation of the dam being built by Addis Ababa on the Nile ended inconclusively on Thursday.
Any agreement in the fourth and last round of talks could not be reached, according to Ethiopian Minister of Water Seleshi Bekele who said, “Egypt comes up with a new matrix that sets the time of the filling of the dam in 12 to 21 years.”
“That is unacceptable,” Seleshi said, adding Ethiopia will begin to fill the dam as of coming July.
During the talks, Ethiopia proposed filling the dam in four to seven years.
“While there have been significant progress during the two days of meeting, there have been a few differences and final agreement could not be reached,” he said.
The latest round of talks on Ethiopia’s $5 billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) was proposed by the U.S., which along with the World Bank sits as observers in the meeting.
“On Monday, we will be in Washington DC presenting our progress report,” Seleshi said, adding mediation, facilitation or bringing the case to the leaders of three countries were the options left in line with the Article 10 of the declaration of Principles signed in March 2015.
Egyptian Water Minister Mohamed Abdel-Aty, for his part, said: “There have been clarity on the issues but agreement could not be reached.”
Abdel-Aty did not elaborate as to why the talks were failed.
The ongoing construction of the dam on the Blue Nile, a Nile River tributary, has been a sticking point between the east African neighbors. Ethiopia hails it as a critical step in its economic development, but Egypt fears the dam will reduce its traditional share of Nile waters as defined in the 1959 water-sharing treaty.
The Blue Nile is one of two main tributaries feeding the Nile River.
Sudan, a downstream country, has participated in several rounds of technical negotiations that failed to break the deadlock.
By Addis Getachew in Addis Ababa