Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia are set to attend on Friday and Saturday the first of four meetings agreed upon to break the deadlock in talks over the filling and operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).
In an official statement, Egypt’s irrigation and water resources ministry said the meeting, to be held in Addis Ababa, would be attended by the water ministers and technical delegations of the three countries.
Representatives from the US and the World Bank are scheduled to attend the meeting.
The meeting comes nearly a week after the foreign ministers of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan agreed during a US Treasury Department brokered meeting in Washington to work towards reaching a deal over the filling and operation of the GERD.
The ministers "agreed to work towards the completion of an agreement by 15 January 2020," a joint statement released by the US Treasury Department said last week.
The World Bank and the US Treasury would “support and attend the meetings as observers” and the ministers would attend further meetings in the US capital on 9 December and 13 January to assess progress in their talks, the statement added.
The $4.8 billion dam, which is being built on the Nile near the border with Sudan, will be the largest hydropower project in Africa when completed in 2022, generating more than 6,000 megawatts of electricity.
Tensions have been building up between Egypt and Ethiopia in recent months after talks on the technical details governing the operation of the dam failed to make progress.
Egypt fears that the Ethiopian dam will diminish its water supply, which is dependent on the Nile, and is pushing for the dam's reservoir to be filled over seven years, while Addis Ababa insists on a three-year filling time.
Ethiopia maintains that the dam, which is nearly 70 percent complete, will not harm the downstream countries of Egypt and Sudan.
Egypt has seeked the participation of the World Bank in the talks with Ethiopia and Sudan over the dam inorder to help all parties reach a resolution that safeguards their interests.