The governments of Egypt and Ethiopia have agreed to resume the work of a technical committee trying to agree on the operating terms of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), an Egyptian presidency spokesman said, reported Reuters.
“The committee aims to reach a final vision of the rules for filling and operating the dam,” said Bassam Rady, spokesman of the presidency, in a statement.
The latest development follows a meeting between Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on the sidelines of a Russia-Africa summit in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.
The technical committee would resume its work “in a more open and positive manner, in order to reach a final vision on the rules for filling and operating the dam,” Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s spokesman said.
The spokesman, however, made no mention of a mediator. The committee had previously failed to produce an agreement over years of meetings between officials from Ethiopia, Egypt, and Sudan over the hydropower dam, which is currently under construction on Ethiopia’s Blue Nile.
Egypt fears the dam could restrict already scarce water supply from the Nile, on which it depends for 90% of its water requirements. Ethiopia, on the other hand, says the dam is crucial to its economic development.
The Egypt government wants Ethiopia to agree to release a minimum of 40bn cubic metres of water from the dam annually. It has called for the accompanying reservoir to be filled over a longer period in order to ensure water supplies remain sufficient in the event of droughts.
On Wednesday, the Egyptian foreign ministry said Cairo had accepted the Unites States call for a meeting of foreign ministers from Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan, on the $5bn infrastructure project.
In related news, Russian President Vladimir Putin has offered to play a role in resolving the dam dispute between Egypt and Ethiopia.