Tripartite talks between Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan on the Blue Nile hydropower dam that Ethiopia is constructing have made technical progress, but sticking points remain on legal issues, Sudan’s water and irrigation minister told reporters Monday in Khartoum.    

“The talks have made noticeable progress on the safety of the dam, the first filling, its long-term operation, the exchange of information, the environmental studies and the technical cooperation committee,” said Yasser Abbas. 

However, he noted that legal issues had surfaced during the discussions.  

“Some legal issues have also arisen between the three delegations, especially regarding the obligations of the agreement, the mechanism of its implementation and ways to introduce amendments if necessary.” 

His comments came after a week of meetings via teleconferencing that ended Monday.   

Abbas noted that each country has delegated a legal team to continue the talks Tuesday in order to raise their recommendations at the ministerial meeting. 

Talks between the three continues resumed this month after having been suspended since February after a series of meetings held in Washington under the auspices of the US, United Nations and World Bank. 

Ethiopia launched the $5 billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) project in 2011 at a site 25 kilometers (15.5 miles) from its border with Sudan. 

Egypt has claimed that the dam would reduce the flow of Nile waters downstream while Ethiopia maintains that it needs the dam for national development as well as regional electricity interconnection. 

Ethiopia hopes to retain 4.9 billion cubic meters of water during the coming rainy season in July and August as part of the first-phase filling and the volume would be enough to test two turbines in mid-2021.

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