Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia have concluded a new round of talks without reaching a consensus on a draft deal to be presented to the African Union (AU) regarding the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on the Nile River.

"The three countries agreed to conclude the current round of talks without consensus on the draft integrated deal which was supposed to be submitted to the AU on Friday," Sudan's Irrigation and Water Resources Ministry said in a statement.

Dialogue the Only Method of Resolution

Nile River
Nile River (Representational Picture) Wikimedia Commons

"Continuation of the talks in their current form will not lead to achieving practical results," Xinhua news agency quoted Yasir Abbas, Sudan's Irrigation and Water Resources Minister, as saying in the statement. He further said that reaching a deal needs a political will.

According to the statement, the Sudanese delegation stressed that dialogue is the only way to reach a deal, saying that it was ready to resume negotiations any time after communication with the AU. Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia have been negotiating under the AU over technical and legal issues related to the filling and operation of the GERD.

Cause of Tension

The $4 billion GERD has been a source of tension in the Nile River basin since Ethiopia started constructing it in 2011. Ethiopia expected the dam to produce over 6,000 megawatts of electricity and become Africa's largest hydropower dam upon completion.

However, Egypt, a downstream Nile Basin country that relies on the river for its freshwater, is concerned that the dam might affect its 55.5-billion-cubic-meter annual share of the water resources.