The African Union Commission Chair Moussa Faki Mahamat on Saturday said almost 90% of issues in the tripartite negotiations between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan on the giant Nile dam have been resolved, reported Reuters.
In an official statement, the African Union said a committee composed of representatives of the three countries, South Africa and technical personnel from the African body would work to resolve the outstanding legal and technical issues. The committee will issue a report on the progress of the Nile dam negotiations in a week.
The AU reportedly has two weeks to help the three countries reach a deal to end a decade-long dispute over water supplies.
On Saturday, the Ethiopian government said that it plans to start filling the reservoir at its Blue Nile dam after an agreement is reached with Egypt and Sudan, following talks led by the African Union to end their decades-long dispute.
“The leaders underscored that the Nile and the GERD are African issues and must be given African solutions,” Ethiopian President Abiy Ahmed said in a statement on Saturday.
He said the meeting between Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt has paved directions on the way forward.
Ethiopia claims that the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), set to be Africa’s largest hydroelectric project, has the potential to lift millions of Ethiopians out of poverty.
Egypt, which relies on the Nile for 90 percent of its water supply, has raised concerns about the Nile dam and said it could reduce the country’s water supply.
After the summit, the Egyptian presidency said in a statement that Ethiopia will not fill the Nile dam unilaterally.
“Egypt’s vision in this regard is represented in the importance of returning to negotiation… while working to create an environment conducive to the success of these negotiations through Ethiopia’s pledge not to take any unilateral step,” said Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.