Irrigation Ministers of Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia have begun a new round of tripartite negotiations seeking to resolve differences over the controversial Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on Friday in Khartoum, reported Egypt Today.
The meeting follows a four-day talk by a tripartite independent technical committee that was tasked to discuss the rules of dam reservoir’s filling and operation. Earlier government talks in Cairo ended without agreement on September 16.
Muhamed El-Sebai, the spokesman of Egypt´s irrigation ministry, said the ministers of Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia met on Friday for two days in Khartoum to discuss Ethiopia´s $5 billion project, which is set to be Africa´s largest hydraulic dam. At its peak, the dam is expected to produce 6.45 gigawatts of electricity.
The ministers will review a report that should be submitted by the technical committee. Egypt fears the dam could reduce its share of the Nile River, which serves as a lifeline for the country’s 100 million people. While Ethiopia, which has roughly the same population, says the dam will help its economic development. Egypt seeks Sudan’s support in the dispute. The dispute centers on the right to control a section of the Nile that stretches 6,695 kilometers from Lake Victoria to the Mediterranean.
Last year in May, the three countries reached an agreement to set up a scientific study group to consult on the filling of the dam. But since then no progress has been made. The dam is almost 60% finished now, and Ethiopia is banking on the dam to become a key energy hub in Africa.
Notably, Egypt and Ethiopia do not have a formal water-sharing agreement. Under the 1959 Nile Waters Agreement between Egypt and Sudan, Egypt uses 55.5 billion cubic metres of water from the Nile each year, and Sudan uses 18.5 billion.