Labourers work at the Grand Renaissance dam in Guba Woreda, Benishangul Gumuz region March 16, 2014 (Reuters)
A planned meeting between the foreign ministers and irrigation ministers of Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan to discuss Ethiopia's under-construction Grand Renaissance Dam has been postponed at the request of Ethiopia, Egypt's foreign ministry said on Saturday.
The spokesman for Egypt's foreign ministry, Ahmed Abu Zeid, released a statement saying that the meeting, which had been scheduled to take place in Khartoum on Sunday and Monday, will be held instead on 11 and 12 December.
"Ethiopian Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom has asked Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry to postpone the scheduled meeting due to a sudden visit he has to make to Kenya during the same timing of the six-party meeting," the statement read.
The planned meeting aims at refreshing technical talks on the dam, and discussing concerns from the Egyptian side, according to the foreign ministry statement.
The ninth round of negotiations on the dam was held in Cairo in November; the tenth round of talks is scheduled to take place in Khartoum following the meeting.
The next round of talks will attempt to solve differences between two consulting firms commissioned to carry out studies on the potential impact of the dam, after one of the two firms dropped out in September citing concerns about the conditions imposed on the study.
The dam over the Blue Nile, scheduled to be completed in 2017, will be Africa's largest hydroelectric power plant with a storage capacity of 74 billion cubic metres of water.
Egypt has repeatedly expressed concerns that filling and operating the dam will negatively affect Egypt's water supply, while Ethiopia has rejected these claims.