ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia

Ethiopia and Sudan on Thursday agreed to continue efforts for “win-win solutions” to the dispute over the Nile dam project.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and his Sudanese counterpart Abdella Hamdok held a virtual meeting to discuss issues regarding the $5 billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

In a series of tweets, Ahmed said the two sides “addressed misunderstood issues” and explored ways to reach “an amicable solution.”

“We have agreed to continue with technical level engagements through our Water Ministers tasked to discuss outstanding issues and arrive at win-win solutions,” he said.

“I also reiterated the economic advantages of the GERD for all that we can seize through the spirit of collaboration.”

Hamdok, who has been trying to convince Ethiopia to resume trilateral talks with Cairo, also held discussions with Egyptian Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouli on Tuesday.

US-sponsored talks between the three countries broke down in February after Ethiopia accused Washington of siding with Egypt.

Cairo opposes the hydropower project that Ethiopia started building in 2011 on the Blue Nile, a tributary of the Nile River, near the border with Sudan.

Tensions between Egypt and Ethiopia have escalated as the latter prepares to start filling the dam this July, as agreed in a prior accord.

The Declaration of Principles (DoP) signed by the three countries in 2015 provided that negotiations would continue along with the dam’s construction.

While a resumption of tripartite talks seems on the cards, it remains unclear whether the upcoming negotiations would be mediated.

Ethiopia has earlier said it would prefer mediation by an African partner, while Egypt maintains it is “always ready” for negotiations.

The GERD’s construction is expected to finish by 2023 and the hydroelectric dam will produce 6,475 megawatts for Ethiopia’s domestic and industrial use, as well as for export to neighboring countries.

Ethiopia plans to fill it up over four to seven years starting this July, but Egypt wants the pace to be even slower.

Cairo says it has a “historical right” to the Nile waters, a claim that Ethiopia has categorically rejected.

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