US pledges technical support for Sudan, Egypt, Ethiopia

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The United States has promised to provide technical assistance for Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia if they reached a deal regarding the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), said a statement of Sudan's Foreign Ministry on Wednesday.

U.S. President Donald Trump urged to speed up reaching a comprehensive agreement on the GERD during his meeting with delegations of the three countries, according to the statement.

Trump further said he would later instruct for organizing a signing ceremony for the agreement in Washington, it added.

The Sudanese Foreign Ministry announced in the statement that the three countries' delegations will return to Washington, in a period to be determined later, to take part in a final round of talks to finalize the comprehensive agreement.

Washington is hosting talks between Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia on the GERD under the patronage of the U.S. Secretary of Treasury and presence of the World Bank president.

The difference between Egypt and Ethiopia focuses on the duration of filling and operation of the GERD.

Egypt demands that the filling period be 10 years considering the drought years, while Ethiopia adheres to a period between four and seven years.

In early August 2019, Egypt proposed that, to avoid drought, Ethiopia must not begin filling the dam without Egypt's consent, which was rejected by Ethiopia.

In March 2015, leaders of Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia signed a declaration of principles committed to reaching an agreement regarding the GERD through cooperation. But differences are still standing despite the deal.

Ethiopia started building the GERD in 2011, while Egypt, a downstream Nile Basin country that relies on the river for its fresh water, is concerned that the dam might affect its 55.5-billion-cubic-meter annual share of the water resources of the river.

The GERD, extending on an area of 1,800 square km, is scheduled to be completed in three years at a cost of 4.7 billion U.S. dollars.

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