Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry headed to Washington on Sunday to attend a meeting aimed at solving the dispute over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), according to a Sunday ministry statement.
The meeting, scheduled on Wednesday, is expected to involve the US Secretary of State, US Secretary of Treasury, Foreign and Irrigation ministers of Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan and the World Bank President David Malpass.
The meeting comes upon the invitation of the US administration last month after Egypt called on the White House to mediate talks with Ethiopia after talks reached a deadlock a few weeks ago.
Ethiopia and Sudan announced on Friday that they will take part in the upcoming meeting in Washington.
Last week, Shoukry said that Egypt is looking to sign a binding legal agreement with Ethiopia to end the dispute over the GERD and to protect Egypt’s water rights in the Nile river.
Shoukry added on Thursday during his speech at the Arab Parliament that Egypt suffers from water poverty as the country’s population stands at 104 million people, with an individual share of 570 cubic meters, adding that Egypt depends on the Nile River for about 70% of its water.
Egypt’s water share of the Nile is about 55bn cubic meters (bcm), while its water needs reach 59 bcm, according to the Ministry of Irrigation.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo expressed earlier to Shoukry “the understanding of the US administration of the significance of this issue and the need to reach a fair agreement that takes into account the interests of the three countries.”
Earlier in October, President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announced that the GERD’s technical committee will convene and put forward how to operate the dam. This announcement followed a meeting on the side-lines of the first Russia-Africa forum held in the city of Sochi on 23-24 October.