Sunday,24 February, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1395, (24 - 30 May 2018)
Sunday,24 February, 2019
Issue 1395, (24 - 30 May 2018)

Ahram Weekly

Timeline: GERD negotiations

Timeline: GERD negotiations
Timeline: GERD negotiations
Al-Ahram Weekly

May 2010: Several Nile Basin states sign the Nile River Basin Cooperative Framework Agreement, known as the Entebbe Agreement. Egypt and Sudan refuse to sign arguing the new agreement does not protect their historic share of Nile water.

The Entebbe Agreement is supposed to replace the 1929 and 1959 Nile Water agreements which allocated 55.5 billion cubic metres of water to Egypt and 18.5 billion to Sudan.

April 2011: Ethiopia begins construction of the multi-billion dollar Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile, 20km from the Sudanese border.

May 2011: A popular diplomacy delegation visits Ethiopia and the two countries agree to resolve their differences and widen cooperation.

September 2011: Cairo and Ethiopia agree to form an international committee to study the impact of the dam on Egypt and Sudan. The committee begins its work in May 2012.

May 2013: The committee issues a report calling for more studies to assess the impact of the dam on downstream countries.

June 2013: Negotiations come to a halt following the 30 June Revolution. When President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi comes to power a year later Cairo and Addis Ababa agree to resume negotiations.

August 2013: Egypt and Ethiopia agree to implement the recommendations of the 2013 report and choose two consultancy firms to conduct the required studies.

September 2014: Water ministers from Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan sign an agreement to form a tripartite committee to hold regular meetings to study the dam and oversee the work of the consultancy firms.

October 2014: The tripartite committee selects a French and a Dutch consultancy firm to conduct the studies.

March 2015: Leaders of the three countries sign the Khartoum Declaration which sets out 10 principles to be adhered to. They include not causing significant damage [to any of the three states], and cooperative agreements on the timetable for filling the dam’s reservoir and its operating protocols. The latter two have still to be resolved.

April 2015: Water ministers in Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan name the two international consultancy firms chosen to study the impact of the dam.

July 2015: In the seventh round of tripartite talks, held in Khartoum, the three countries agree on the principles governing the work of the consultancy firms.

September 2015: The Dutch consultancy withdraws, citing concern over the absence of guarantees its work will be impartial.

December 2015: Foreign ministers from the three countries sign an agreement restating their commitment to the Khartoum Declaration. A month later French engineering consultancies Artelia and BRL are chosen to undertake impact studies. They are expected to complete their work within a year.

May 2016: Ethiopia announces more than 60 per cent of the dam is complete.

May 2017: The French consultancy firms issue their first preliminary report.

October 2017: Egypt’s water minister visits the site of the dam. Cairo accepts the preliminary report. Sudan and Ethiopia express reservations.

November 2017: The 17th round of tripartite talks is held in Cairo. Following the meeting Egypt says the talks have failed after disputes over the preliminary report.

December 2017: Egypt suggests the World Bank becomes a party to negotiations.

January 2018: Ethiopian prime minister Hailemariam Desalegn pays a three-day visit to Egypt during which several cooperation agreements are signed. Although the visit was expected to ease tensions Desalegn rejects Egypt’s suggestion the World Bank become involved soon after he returns to Ethiopia. Sudan backs Addis Ababa.

January 2018: President Al-Sisi meets his Ethiopian and Sudanese counterparts on the margins of the AU summit. They agree to resume tripartite negotiations.

February 2018: Tripartite talks are postponed as unrest in Ethiopia leads to the resignation of Desalegn. Abiy Ahmed Ali is appointed as a replacement a month later.

April 2018: The three countries hold the first nine-party meeting attended by the ministers of irrigation and foreign affairs as well as the intelligence chiefs of the three states. They discuss the impact of the dam on the water shares of Egypt and Sudan. The meeting concludes without an agreement.

5 May 2018: A tripartite meeting takes place in Addis Ababa between the irrigation ministers of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan. During the meeting the three countries submit their observations on the technical report issued by French consulting firms Artelia and BRL.

15 May 2018: The three countries hold the second nine-party meeting attended by heads of intelligence, ministers of foreign affairs and irrigation of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan in Addis Ababa. A document that organised the mechanism of future meetings was issued at the end of the meeting.

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