Egypt's Minister of Irrigation Mohamed Abdel Aati (C) among members of the Egyptian delegation during the tripartite meeting in Addis Ababa on Saturday (Photo courtesy of Irrigation Ministry)
Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia agreed on Saturday in Addis Ababa during the first of four agreed upon meetings to continue discussions on all contentious issues regarding the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) in Cairo on 2-3 December, according to a statement released by Egypt's irrigation and water resources ministry.
The two-day meeting in the Ethiopian capital was attended by the three countries' water ministers and technical delegations, in addition to representatives of the United States and the World Bank as observers.
Egypt’s irrigation and water resources ministry explained that the Addis Ababa meeting involved technical discussions on the rules of filling and operating the GERD, as well as the ways of dealing with cases of drought or prolonged drought that might occur in the future.
The four meetings come in light of the agreement that was reached in the US-sponsored meeting between the three parties in Washington earlier this month to hold a series of urgent trilateral meetings to break the deadlock in negotiations over the GERD, with the participation of representatives from the US and the World Bank.
They aim at reaching an agreement between the three countries on operating the dam and filling its reservoir within a period of two months, by 15 January 2020.
Egypt has called on the United States and the World Bank to play a mediating role in trilateral talks in order to break the deadlock in negotiations with Ethiopia over the filling of the GERD.
Ethiopia hopes that the $4.8 billion GERD project on the Blue Nile, which started in 2011, would pave the way for its economic development and allow it to become Africa’s biggest power exporter.
Egypt, however, fears that the speed of filling the Ethiopian dam, which is 70 percent complete and set to be fully operational by 2022, will adversely diminish its share of the Nile River water, as the country depends on the river for 85 percent of its water resources.