The meeting between the foreign ministers and ministers of irrigation of Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan to discuss the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) has been postponed to 11 and 12 December, Egypt’s foreign ministry spokesperson Ahmed Abu Zaid said in a statement Saturday night.
The meeting was set to take place in Khartoum on Sunday and Monday.
The statement said while they were attending a meeting in Johannesburg, Ethiopian Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom asked Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry to postpone the meeting because of a sudden visit he had to make to Kenya during the same timing of the six-party meeting.
Egypt’s Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources Hossam El-Din Moghazi said in a press statement Sunday that the postponement was due to procedural reasons. In the last meeting, he displayed the Egyptian technical committees’ notes on studies and research made by consulting offices.
Sudan’s Minister of Water Resources, Irrigation, and Electricity Mutaz Musa said postponing the date was agreed upon in the context of cooperation between the three countries to ensure the success of the meetings. He hoped the meetings will create the political backdrop whereby presidents can apply the agreement on the dam that was signed in Khartoum on 23 March.
Sudan’s first Vice-President Bakry Hassan hailed the strong relations between Sudan and Egypt and congratulated Egypt for completing its parliamentary elections, during a meeting with Egyptian Prime Minister Sherif Ismail at the China-African Cooperation Forum on Saturday.
Hassan said the cooperation in the River Nile file water is backed by all countries, with extra concern to not cause damage to any of the parties. The dam will create common interests in the context of maintaining the national security of each state, he noted.
Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia are set to discuss contingency plans in the absence of an agreement between the firms that were chosen to study the effect of the dam, which would include choosing new ones and restarting the selection process.
The three countries previously formed a committee to select a consultancy firm to assess the impact of the dam on Sudan’s and Egypt’s water supply.
During the ninth round of negotiations held in Cairo earlier this month, Egypt officially handed Ethiopia a list of its observations on the dam. They mainly focused on the acceleration of the dam construction while slowing down negotiations, which would not allow implementing the recommendations of the consultancy firms.