(KHARTOUM) – New legal disagreements emerged the tripartite talks on the first filling of the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) forcing the parties to extend the talks for more time.
The dispute between Egypt and Ethiopia over the first filling of the giant hydropower dam continued on Monday according to a statement issued by the Sudanese government which initiated the ongoing videoconference meetings after the failure of Washington meetings to break the deadlock.
However, the Sudanese government stressed that “great progress” has been achieved on the issues related to the operation of the GERD, the safety of the dam, the long-term operation, data exchange and the technical committee for the needed coordination between the upstream and downstream countries.
All these points dealt in fact with the concerns of Sudan.
Nonetheless, the statement also pointed to progress on the “first filling of the dam” which is the main issue of concern for Egypt but did not develop on this matter.
Egyptian and Ethiopian government trade accusations about the bad faith of each other, as the public debate moved gradually to the ownership of the water and two sides accuse each other of seeking to dictate its will on the other.
Despite the announced progress in the discussions, the statement stressed that “legal” differences appeared between the parties.
“Differences arose between the three delegations regarding legal aspects, especially in binding character and legal force of the agreement and how to amend it,” further said the statement.
Secondly, the parties are still at odds on “the mechanism for the settlement of disputes over the implementation of the agreement,” underscored the statement.
The third point of discord is how to link the agreement to other “irrelevant issues related to water sharing”, said the Sudanese government which seeks to bring the parties to conclude a deal before the rainy seasons to enable Ethiopia to launch the long term filling process.
The legal teams of the three countries were tasked to deliberate on the three legal dispute, in the presence of the observers, before to submit their findings to a ministerial meeting that will be held on Tuesday, June 16.
Treaties often contain a mix of mandatory and non-mandatory elements. The parties have to determine clearly what is revocable and how to settle a dispute over it.