Egypt's Nile water committee in permanent session over GERD: Cabinet
Ahram Online , Sunday 8 Mar 2020

Egypt's Supreme Committee for Nile Water (SCNW) will remain in a permanent session to discuss the latest development on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), a statement published by the country's cabinet read following a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly on Sunday.

The meeting tackled the current situation in the GERD negotiations in light of "the unjustified Ethiopian positions and the country's skipping of the latest round of negotiations in Washington."

Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan were expected to sign a final deal on the mega dam during the two-day talks that concluded in Washington in late February, but Ethiopia did not attend the meetings, citing incomplete domestic discussions.

The SCNW meeting, which was attended by Minister of Irrigation Mohamed Abdel-Aati and representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Defence and the General Intelligence Service (GIS), discussed the Egyptian strategy to ensure Egypt's riparian interests and its rights to the Nile water.

Over the past week, tensions escalated between Egypt and Ethiopia after Addis Ababa withdrew from the latest round of US-sponsored discussions to resolve the dispute, and pledged to start filling the GERD before reaching a final deal with the downstream countries of Egypt and Sudan.

Egypt accused Addis Ababa of not attending the last round of talks in Washington last week to deliberately hinder the path of negotiations.

Ethiopia hopes the massive $4.8 billion megaproject on the Blue Nile, which has been under construction since 2011, will allow it to become Africa’s largest power exporter.

Cairo fears the dam will diminish its water supply from the Nile, on which it relies for the vast majority of its fresh water.