GERD negotiations remain stalled as Algeria mediation announced

Negotiations around the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) remain at a standstill as Algeria prepares to begin mediation between Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia.

In remarks to Al-Jazeera, Egypt’s Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources Mohamed Abdel-Aty appeared cautious, saying that if the mediation does not yield results, there is no point in it.

According to Abdel-Aty, Ethiopia’s failure in the second filling of the GERD was due to expected technical problems, and that Cairo is concerned over the incorrect information it was provided with regarding the filling.

He said that Egypt and Sudan had made the necessary preparations for the second filling, and now that Ethiopia has failed to complete this, there is confusion.

The minister also commented on Egypt’s overall concern about water scarcity, stating, “We must worry [about] and preserve every water drop and manage the water wisely.”

He shared that a deficit of one billion cubic meters of water can lead to the destruction of 200,000 acres of farmland and affect 200,000 families.

Abdel-Aty accused Ethiopia of consuming more water than it discloses, stressing that the crops around its Lake Tana are irrigated by the Blue Nile.

“They have the lion’s share,” he claimed, adding that Egypt must often reuse its share of Nile water.

Late last month, the Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok anticipated that a solution to GERD issue will soon be reached “within the framework of international law”, and praised Algeria’s initiative to solve the crisis.

The Algerian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ramtane Lamamra, made an African tour at the end of July which included Ethiopia, Sudan, and Egypt to get acquainted with the positions of all parties regarding the issue.

During a press conference held late August in Algeria, Lamamra said that “Algeria is ready to help Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia to return to a normal situation in the negotiations over the Renaissance Dam on the Nile River.”

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