A second round of talks between the Egyptian, Ethiopian and Sudanese irrigation ministers regarding the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam concluded on Friday, with a third round of talks scheduled a month from now, MENA reported.
The dam, currently under construction on the Blue Nile in the Ethiopian highlands, has been a source of worry for Egyptian officials who believe it will affect the amount of Nile water reaching downstream Egypt. Ethiopia has denied that it will have any adverse affects.
At a press conference on Friday, the irrigation ministers said they had agreed to receive offers from seven consultancy firms who will conduct more studies on the dam's possible effects. They will settle on one or two firms during their meeting next month. A location for next month's meeting is yet to be disclosed.
The seven selected firms include firms from Germany, Switzerland, France, Holland, and Australia, Sudan's irrigation minister Moatez Moussa told MENA.
The best candidate, according to Moussa, will be chosen based on competence, reputation and cost.
In addition, a British law firm was selected to handle all financial and administrative issues related to the consultancy.
On Thursday, Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi met with the irrigation ministers of Sudan and Ethiopia.
During the meeting, El-Sisi stressed that strong relations between the three countries cannot be limited to water resource issues, saying economic development can only be reached through cooperation.
In the first round of talks, held last month in Addis Ababa, Egyptian officials said a breakthrough had been reached in discussions despite the fact that many issues concerning the construction of the Ethiopian dam remained unresolved.
Some 40 percent of the dam has already been built, Ethiopian President Mulatu Teshome said earlier this month.