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The Nile River Basin, with eleven riparian countries, lacks any agreed-upon basin-wide legal framework. Attempts at effective management and utilization of water resources inclusive of all countries along the basin have not been possible due to lack of consensus on the legal basis of already exiting colonial-era agreements that allocate an absolute share of the Nile water to Egypt and Sudan by excluding most of the upper riparians. The review has specifically focused on the trilateral negotiation processes between Ethiopia, Sudan, and Egypt since November 2019 on the filling and annual operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, which Ethiopia has been constructing since 2011. It has made a thorough review of a series of events and processes through which the negotiation has passed to conduct a critical analysis of facts, and has suggested reflections on the way forward. It considers the need for political will and flexibility of the negotiating parties to reconcile existing contradictory positions. To this end, pursuing a revisionist approach to take the dynamic socio-economic realities and development needs of co-basin countries is commendable. This further requires renegotiating long existed colonial-era agreements and formulating a basin-wide legal framework in line with existing international standards. Focusing on technical and expertise level of discussions and outcomes would minimize over politicization and specifically would help to address the negative impacts of Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam and optimize positive externalities. Peace is a necessity than any other option among the co-basin countries and the only avenue towards sustainable resolution of disputes. Negotiating in good faith and in a ‘give and take’ modality needs to be a second to none alternative to the parties. The international community may also need to play a neutral and genuine role to assist the parties to settle their differences amicably and reach a final negotiated settlement.
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