The foreign ministers of Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia have reached a preliminary agreement on sharing the Nile River's waters and operating Ethiopia's contested Grand Renaissance Dam, Egypt's official news agency said.
The agreement sets forth "principles governing cooperation between the three countries on the use of the eastern Nile Basin and the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam," Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry told a press conference in Khartoum Friday morning.
Egypt has repeatedly voiced anxiety the dam, which when finished will have a 74 billion cubic metre reservoir on the Nile’s largest tributary, fearing its water supply could be effected.
But Addis Ababa has repeatedly affirmed the 6,000 MW dam, that will be Africa's biggest hydro station, will not harm downstream countries of Egypt and Sudan.
Shoukry said the deal will usher in "the beginning of further cooperation' between the three states. His Ethiopian counterpart Tedros Adhanom said the agreed principles would open "new chapter" in relations between the three states.
The pact will be sent to the heads of the three states to give their seal of approval, Sudanese Foreign Minister Ali Ahmed Karti said, at the end of three days of tripartite talks between the countries' foreign and water ministers.
The ministers did not elaborate further on the details of the deal which aims to resolve the dispute over the mega-project.
Egyptian Water Resources and Irrigation Minister Hossam Moghazy said the name of the consultancy firm that will carry out new water and environmental studies on the dam, in fulfillment of an agreement made between the three countries last year, will be announced on 9 March.