Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry met Tuesday, during his visit to Addis Ababa, Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and Minister of Foreign Affairs Workneh Gebeyehu, where he followed up on the cooperation between the two countries following the latest round of tripartite meetings between Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia regarding the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).
According to a statement from the ministry, Shoukry expressed Egypt’s concern about the latest drawback in the negotiations, pointing to continued inability of the technical committee to moderate between the three countries. Shourky informed his counterpart that Egypt has “dealt with flexibility with the issue.” Egypt has previously said that it believes that the technical reports are true and not politicised. The reports have concluded that there will be effect on Egypt’s share of the Nile’s water if the dam is filled.
Shoukry said that Egypt is keen to make the negotiations a success, asserting that Egypt does not think that Ethiopia is endangering Egypt’s benefits. According to the statement, Shoukry asserted to his counterpart that water is a sensitive issue for Egypt
Egypt suggested that there should be an “unbiased element” in the negotiations, saying this entity should be the World Bank, due to its wide array of experience in technical affairs.
Shoukry said that the Ethiopian side promised to look into the Egyptian suggestion, and that Ethiopia will present the suggestion to Sudan.
Last November, President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi assured Egyptians that no entity can touch or affect Egypt’s share of Nile water, after the failure of the last negotiations session with Sudan and Ethiopia regarding the GERD. The president said Egypt informed Ethiopia that it does not have any reservations on development projects, as long as they do not affect Egypt’s water share. The statements came after the last meeting between Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan was reported to have failed in reaching a consensus about the study made on the effects of the dam on downstream countries.
The Ethiopian government started establishing the GERD in April 2011 on the Blue Nile River. However, Egypt fears the dam will affect its historic Nile water share of 55 billion sqm, which it has had access to since a 1959 agreement with Sudan.
Last month, after the failure of the meeting, Egyptian MPs called on the Egyptian state to intervene politically and to take part in the negotiations. The Foreign Ministry announced in November that Al-Sisi will soon meet Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn to discuss the GERD.