Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan’s foreign ministers are expected to return to Washington for another round of talks this week to reach an agreement on the controversial Nile Dam.
According to The National, diplomatic sources in Washington have confirmed that Egypt’s Sameh Shoukry, Ethiopia’s Gedu Andargachew and Sudan’s Asma Abdallah of Sudan will hold talks in Washington on Wednesday and Thursday. The Sudanese and Ethiopian ministers for water resources, Yasser Abbas and Seleshi Bekele, are also expected to attend.
The sources confirmed that US Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin will preside over the talks and David Malpass, president of the World Bank, will also be a part of the negotiation talks.
Washington has hosted several rounds of talks with ministers from Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan and the World Bank to try to reach an agreement on the $4.5 billion hydroelectric dam.
Earlier this month, ministers from the three countries announced that a final agreement on the giant Blue Nile dam would be signed by the end of February.
In a joint statement, the three countries agreed on a schedule for staged filling of the $4 billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) and mitigation mechanisms to adjust its filling and operation during dry periods and drought. But several aspects of the Nile dam, including its safety and provisions for the resolution of disputes, are still to be finalized.
Notably, Ethiopia and Egypt are at loggerheads over the dam issue as Cairo fears that the dam will drain the Nile, on which it relies for 90 percent of its water. Egypt wants Ethiopia to agree to release a minimum of 40 billion cubic metres of water from the dam each year. It also wants the dam’s reservoir to be filled over a longer period than the four years planned by Ethiopia, to keep water available during droughts.