Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Mohamed Abdel Aaty announced that Sudan will host a nine-party ministerial meeting on Wednesday and Thursday to discuss the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) issue.
Abdel Aaty clarified to reporters, after a conference organised by the American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt (AmCham) on Monday morning, that Sudan’s upcoming meeting will be held with the participation of the ministers of water and foreign affairs and intelligence service officials from Ethiopia, Sudan, and Egypt.
“Egypt is not against African countries’ development, we only care about our share of water and safety of the renaissance dam,” said Abdel Aaty, noting that many previous dams were constructed on the Nile River in Sudan and Ethiopia with the approval of the Egyptian government.
Abdel Aaty added, “we have been negotiating the renaissance dam issue since 2013 and it is difficult to come to an agreement because we have doubts about its safety.”
At the end of January, Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn held a summit in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa and came out of the meeting holding hands, a sign of reaching an agreement.
Abdel Aaty said that the Ethiopian government was changed after the presidential meeting which delayed the negotiations adding, “we look forward to Sudan’s meeting to resume the studies.”
On 19 March, Al-Bashir paid a visit to Egypt and held a presidential summit with his Egyptian counterpart Al-Sisi , two weeks after Sudan’s Ambassador to Egypt Abel Mahmoud Abdel Halim returned to Egypt after he was recalled from the country following strains in the countries’ relations over the use of the Nile River’s water.
Meanwhile, Egypt already suffers a deficit in its water resources. However, it is attempting to overcome the issue through several means to fully serve agricultural and industrial needs, added the minister.
“We need about 114bn cubic metres of water, but the available amount is 60bn cubic metres. The deficit is 54bn cubic metres, which is about 90% of our current available water resources,” said the minister, noting that Egypt imports some agricultural products instead of locally producing in order to save water.