In spite of Egyptian pessimism on the latest round of negotiations over the $5billion hydro dam it is constructing on the Nile River, Ethiopia said on Sunday that an understanding was reached on the first-stage filling and operation of the dam.

The announcement came in a statement by Ethiopia’s Water, Irrigation and Energy Ministry after Sudan, Ethiopia and Egypt later on Saturday held their fourth-day talks on the first-stage filling and annual operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

Based on the filling schedule of the GERD, the countries reached an understanding on the guidelines for the first stage filling, volume of environmental flow, and the approach to drought management rules.

The countries also reached an understanding on dam safety rules, environmental and social impact assessment studies, and implementation of the guidelines and rules.

On Saturday, Egyptian government spokesperson told reporters in Cairo that his government did not see any progress in the talks.

Ethiopia’s Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy in its statement, however, urged Egypt to stop issuing confusing statements and continuing diplomatic pressure while negotiating.

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