Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry travelled to Washington on Sunday, to participate in the last round of talks over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), which also include Sudan’s and Ethiopia’s ministers of foreign affairs and irrigation.
The final round of talks will start on 28-29 January. It will hopefully finalise a comprehensive agreement on the filling and operation of the GERD. This meeting is the last attempt to end the months-long dispute between Egypt and Ethiopia over the issue.
In the presence of US Treasury and World Bank officials, the meeting will address appropriate mitigation measures for Egypt and Sudan during prolonged periods of dry years, drought and prolonged drought, coordination mechanism to monitor the implementation of the final agreement and resolving any conflicts in the future.
Last week, Sudan’s capital, Khartoum hosted technical and legal discussions over the GERD, in which officials from Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia discussed possible measures to be followed in the times of drought, to prevent any harm to Egypt’s water share from Nile.
The next meeting comes weeks after Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan reached a preliminary consensus over the filling of the GERD in a round table discussion held earlier this month in Washington. During the meeting, the parties agreed on filling the dam in stages, taking into consideration the hydrological conditions of the Blue Nile and the potential impact of the filling on downstream reservoirs.
Hoping that the GERD project on the Blue Nile will transform the country into Africa’s largest power exporter, Ethiopia established the project at a cost of $4.8bn. However, the dam has been the epicentre of great concerns in Egypt fearing that it will diminish its share of Nile water, which comprises 85% of the country’s water resources.