Egypt’s prime minister Mostafa Madbouly arrived in Sudan for talks with his Sudanese counterpart Abdalla Hamdok and several ministers, state run MENA agency reported on Saturday.
Extensive talks between the two countries’ delegations will be held on Saturday, according to MENA, without providing details on whether the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) issue will be tackled.
Madbouly’s visit comes few days ahead of an anticipated meeting between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia scheduled on Monday over the disputed Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) after Khartoum requested last week to adjourn the talks for a week for "internal consultations."
Sudan threatened to withdraw from the talks, sponsored by the African Union, if Ethiopia insisted on linking an agreement on the dam’s filling to negotiating a deal on sharing the waters of the Blue Nile.
Negotiations to reach a deal over the filling and operation of the nearly $5 billion GERD resumed one week after Cairo's call for a suspension of meetings after Addis Ababa put forward a new draft proposal that Cairo complained is lacking operating guidelines and any legally binding obligations.
The mega-dam, built 15 kilometres from the Ethiopian border with Sudan, has been a source of tension between the three nations. Cairo fears the project will significantly cut its water supply from the River Nile, while Sudan fears it will endanger the safety of its own dams.
Addis Ababa announced last month it had achieved its first-year target for the filling of the dam’s reservoir due to the rainfall season. The move was condemned by Cairo and Khartoum -- both have sought a legally binding agreement before the dam was filled.
Ethiopia says the massive project, which it hopes will make it Africa’s largest power exporter, is key to its development efforts.