A delegation of water experts from Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan held talks in the Sudanese capital Khartoum on Sunday concerning the impacts of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.
Motaz Mousa, the newly appointed Sudanese water minister, stressed during his opening address the importance of “dialogue between Nile Basin countries,” according to a statement by the Egyptian Ministry of Irrigation and Water Resources .
Ahmed Bahaa El-Din, head of the Nile Water Sector, the body responsible for coordination and negotiation with Nile Basin countries, reiterated Egypt’s position on supporting development in all Nile Basin countries without harming any one country.
The Ethiopian delegation asserted the importance of forming a technical committee which would implement the findings of the international tripartite report released in June on the effects of the Ethiopian dam.
Sunday’s meeting comes one day ahead of a meeting between the water ministers of Egypt, Ethopia and Sudan. State-run MENA reported that Mohamed Abdel Moteleb, the Egyptian Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources, is scheduled to leave for Khartoum on Sunday night to attend the talks.
Abdel Moteleb had previously met with his Sudanese and Ethiopian counterparts in the Khartoum last month, during which he expressed hopes that the talks would be the“beginning of a new era of cooperation between the three countries.”
But after talks failed to produce a tripartite committee to supervise the Ethiopian Dam, the ministers decided to postpone talks until December.
The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam has been the reason for increased tension between Egypt and Ethiopia during the past year. In May, Ethiopia began diverting water from a tributary of the BlueNile in preparation for the construction of the dam.
Egypt fears that the Ethiopian dam will affect its current majority share of the Nile water. In accordance with agreements signed in 1929 and 1959 Egypt is guaranteed 55.5bn cubic metres of the estimated total of 84bn cubic metres of Nile water produced each year.
On 18 June, former Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr reassured Egyptians that Ethiopia has no intention of harming Egypt and announced that water ministers of the three countries would soon hold talks.
Current Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy had said in October that there is “no alternative to cooperation between Nile Basin countries,” adding that the water issue is not a “zero-sum game.”