The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam in close snapshots (Bassem Abo-Elabass)
Cairo is set to host a tripartite meeting between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia on the Ethiopian Grand Renaissance Dam (GERD) next week to discuss initial reports by consultancy firms tasked with assessing the possible impact of the dam on downstream countries, the spokesman of the Egyptian foreign ministry told Ahram Online on Thursday.
The Egyptian irrigation ministry spokesman was not available for comment on the details of what will be discussed in the committee's meetings.
The meeting would come few days after a visit by Ethiopian Foreign Minister Workneh Gebeyehu to Egypt, where he met with Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and foreign minister Sameh Shoukry to discuss bilateral relations.
Gebeyehu affirmed that his visit comes as an assurance to Egyptians that Addis Ababa would never harm the Egyptian people and their interests, in reference to Ethiopia's construction of the GERD on the River Nile.
Officials from the two countries have agreed to hold talks every two months to work on improving relations, with El-Sisi expressing hopes to the Ethiopian minister for Cairo to host a joint high committee meeting soon, with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn in attendance.
In late 2016, Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia signed the final contracts for the long-awaited impact studies with French consultancy firms BRL and Artelia, as well as British law firm Corbett, which will carry out studies on the potential impact of the on the flow of the Nile.
The studies by the French firms, expected to take 11 months from their start date in late 2016, will include the managing of water and hydroelectric resources as well as an assessment of the cross-border environmental, social and economic impact of the mega project.
Cairo has expressed concerns that the construction of the Renaissance Dam, which is more than halfway complete, could negatively affect Egypt's share of Nile water.
Addis Ababa, however, has maintained that the dam project, which Ethiopia says is vital for generating electricity, will not harm downstream countries.