The announcement on Friday evening that Ethiopia will not proceed to fill the $US 4.8 billion GERD, despite its earlier statements this month that filling will commence despite the existence of any agreement, came after the three countries participated in an emergency African Union summit.
"Consensus reached to finalize the #GERD agreement within 2 to 3 weeks", Seleshi Bekele, Ethiopia's Minister of Water, Irrigation and Energy said in a tweet.
"Ethiopia is scheduled to begin filling the GERD within the next two weeks, during which the remaining construction work will continue".
Ethiopia has hinged its development ambitions on the mega-project, describing the dam as a crucial lifeline to bring millions out of poverty.
Just last week, Ethiopian Foreign Minister Gedu Andargachew warned that his country could begin filling the dam's reservoir unilaterally, after the latest round of talks with Egypt and Sudan failed to reach an accord governing how the dam will be filled and operated.
The African Union also supports dialogue to resolve the issue.
This follows a video conference summit organized by the African Union (AU) between Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed with the participation of South African President and current AU head Cyril Ramaphosa, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, the President of Mali Ibrahim Abu Bakr Keita, and Congo President Felix Tshisekedi.
The statement issued this morning said it is in this period that the three countries have agreed to reach a final agreement on few pending matters.
"Egypt's vision in this regard is represented in the importance of returning to negotiation. while working to create an environment conducive to the success of these negotiations through Ethiopia's pledge not to take any unilateral step", Sisi said, according to state media.
Ethiopia started building the GERD in 2011, while Egypt, a downstream Nile Basin country that relies on the river for its freshwater, is concerned that the dam might affect its 55.5-billion-cubic-meter annual share of the water resources of the river.
The African Union has two weeks to help broker a deal to end a decade-long dispute over water supplies.
Egypt, which views the hydroelectric barrage as an existential threat, appealed last week to the UN Security Council to intervene in the dispute.
Ethiopia had previously pushed to start filling the enormous Nile River dam next month despite vehement opposition from downstream Egypt and Sudan, and the dispute was raised with the United Nations last week.
Diplomatic sources said this week that the UN Security Council planned to meet Monday to discuss objections to the dam raised by Egypt and Sudan.
Filling the dam without an agreement could bring the stand-off to a critical juncture.