President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi held a meeting Tuesday to review the results of the High Committee on the Nile water discussions with Ethiopia and Sudan.
The meeting took place before the signing of an agreement between the three countries regarding the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) project.
The review included experts representing ministries and agencies concerned with the draft which includes agreements between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan on the GERD project, a Tuesday presidential statement said.
The meeting was attended by Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Hossam El-Moghazy, Minister of International Cooperation Nagla Al-Ahwani, Head of Intelligence Khaled Fawzy, and a representative from the Ministry of Defence.
Al-Sisi ordered the committee’s continued review of the agreement draft and the study of all aspects, as well as the necessary legal action on the subject.
The presidents of Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia are set to sign the agreement on 23 March in Khartoum.
Sudanese Foreign Minister Ali Karti described the agreement as an important achievement, and a step that would benefit the region, according to state-owned newspaper Al-Ahram.
Karti added Tuesday that this political agreement will be the basis on which detailed agreements will be reached. The agreements relate to technical issues currently on the table between the three eastern Nile Basin countries, concerning the utilisation of the GERD.
Cooperation between Egypt and Ethiopia has improved after years of political dispute. Egypt’s main concern since the dam’s establishment in 2011 is its water retaining capacity. Utilising more Nile water than any other country, Egypt fears the dam will have a detrimental effect on its share of the river’s water.
Following Al-Sisi’s visit to the African Union Summit last January, a committee was formed between Ethiopia and Egypt’s foreign ministries, specifically to address water issues.
Al-Sisi had received a report from Shoukry and El-Moghazy on the February Khartoum meetings with the irrigation ministers of both Sudan and Ethiopia. The ministers stressed the three countries’ ability to reach a consensus on a set of principles to be submitted to political leaders for their consideration and approval.
Shoukry also stressed that what has been achieved is an important step on the path of strengthening bilateral relations between Egypt and Ethiopia. He further highlighted the positive spirit that prevailed in the latest round of negotiations and the availability of real political will on both sides.