Egypt government on Thursday said it was ready to resume negotiation talks with Ethiopia and Sudan over filling the controversial Nile dam, known as the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, that has been a source of tension between the Nile Basin countries, reported The National.
“Egypt is always ready to enter into negotiations and participate in upcoming meetings to reach a fair, balanced and comprehensive agreement,” the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said.
The ministry stressed on the importance that the upcoming meeting between the ministers of irrigations should be “serious and constructive” to contribute to a fair, balanced and comprehensive deal that would preserve Egypt’s water rights and the interests of both Sudan and Ethiopia.
The Egypt government’s nod comes after Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok held an online meeting with Ethiopian leader Abiy Ahmed earlier on Thursday over the Nile dam issue. The two agreed to resume the talks between the ministers of irrigation in the three countries in order to reach for a final agreement on the filing and operation policies of the GERD.
Egypt and Sudan fear the reservoir, which has a capacity of 74 billion cubic metres, will trap their essential water supplies. Addis Ababa, on the other hand, is not ready to delay filling the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, which it began building in 2011. Once completed, the mega $4.5 billion hydroelectric Nile dam is likely to become the biggest power source in Africa estimated to produce some 6GW when fully operational.
The negotiations between the three countries reached a deadlock last February after Ethiopia skipped the final round of talks in Washington leading to a diplomatic war of words between Cairo and Addis Ababa that reached the UN Security Council.
Last week, Sudan surprised Ethiopia when it rejected the proposal by Addis Ababa to fill the Nile dam starting July, in the absence of a tripartite agreement.