A two-day tripartite meeting between Sudan, Ethiopia and Egypt kicked off Monday in Khartoum over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), with ministerial representatives reviewing achievements of previous negotiations.
Representatives from the three states included Egyptian Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources Hossam El-Din Moghazy, Sudan’s Minister of Water Resources and Electricity Moataz Moussa, and Ethiopia’s Ministry of Water and Energy Alemayehu Tegenu.
At the opening session, Moghazy said Egypt will not prevent developments of fellow Nile Basin countries as long as it is for mutual benefit, according to a statement on ministry’s official page.
He added that despite Egypt facing economic challenges, it continues to support development in the Nile Basin region, which he described as a “testament to the goodwill of Egypt”.
However, Egypt will still seek to guarantee its share in the Nile River, said Moghazy.
Moghazy showed concern about the impact which the building process of the GERD will have on the downstream countries. He emphasised the need to prepare further studies to guarantee that any newly constructed projects on the Nile should be subject to international standards.
He said: “Water should be a catalyst for strategic cooperation and not a source of conflict.”
His Ethiopian counterpart, Alemayehu Tegenu, said that his country does not intend to harm Egyptian and Sudanese interests, emphasising negotiations aim to implement and discuss recommendations by international experts, according to state run Al-Ahram.
Tegenu added that his government has provided many facilities for the construction of the GERD, while emphasising standards of safety and security.
The dam will help reduce poverty rates in Ethiopia, while benefiting other countries in the region, said the minister.
Al-Ahram quoted the host’s representative, Sudan’s Minister of Water Resources and Electricity Moataz Moussa, as saying that negotiation is the most efficient way to solve the issue. He emphasised that the time has come to reach an agreement.
Current negotiations are the fourth round of talks over the project after three unsuccessful sessions, with Egyptian officials expressing concern the dam will affect the country’s annual share of water.
The talks come after President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi said Sunday that Egypt is working to ensure the GERD does not damage its water interests or reduce Egypt’s “historical share of water”. He added that he is willing to visit Ethiopia if needed to preserve Egypt’s share.