Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry on Tuesday said the United States government has invited Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia representatives to a meeting in Washington on November 6, reported Reuters. The meeting is aimed at breaking the deadlock in negotiations over a giant hydropower dam on Ethiopia’s Blue Nile.
The Egyptian minister confirmed the meeting in a joint press conference with his German counterpart Heiko Maas.
“The U.S. administration invited the three countries to meet in the United States on Nov. 6 in the presence of representatives of the American administration to discuss breaking the deadlock in the ongoing negotiations,” Shoukry said.
The foreign minister said some US officials would be present in the meeting acting as intermediaries to draw divergent viewpoints of the parties involved and bring about a fair and just agreement. He said Egypt’s call for a mediator proves its good intention to reach a solution for the dam’s crisis. He added that the idea of the mediator comes under the 2015 Declaration of Principles, signed by the three countries.
Shoukry said Egypt has recognized the rights of Ethiopia in seeking development on the condition that the rights “shouldn’t negatively affect Egypt.”
While Cairo accepted the U.S. invitation to a meeting of foreign ministers over the project earlier this month, it still remains unclear if the other two countries had agreed to attend.
Notably, Egypt fears that the dam could drastically restrict the flow of the Nile, on which it depends for around 90 percent of its water supply, while Addis Ababa insists its $4 billion hydro-electric barrage is necessary to provide the country with much-needed electricity.
The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) is under construction since 2011 on the Nile in Ethiopia. Ethiopia is expected to start filling the reservoir behind the dam next year. Talks among Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan over the dam have so far failed to reach a breakthrough.