By Nayera Abdelhady
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry visited the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, on Monday to attend the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) tripartite committee meeting.
The meeting will be attended by his Ethiopian and Sudanese counterparts on Tuesday to discuss the ongoing GERD dialogue.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesman Badr Abdelatty told Daily News Egypt: “The meeting’s objective is to reach mutual benefits between the countries and discuss more agreements on the current proposals of the technical and financial routes for the GERD submitted by international corporations to the tripartite committee.”
Abdalatty said an official statement will be released late Monday, explaining the detailed agenda of the visit. The statement had yet to be released at the time of printing.
During a press conference Sunday, Egypt’s Ambassador in Sudan, Osama Shaltout, confirmed Abdelatty’s statement saying Shoukry will meet with his Ethiopian and Sudanese counterparts during his four-day visit. Minister of Water and Irrigation Hossam El-Moghazy is accompanying Shoukry during the visit.
Shaltout added: “Later this month, Egyptian Agriculture Minister Adel El-Beltagi, will be starting a three-day visit to Sudan on 17 March to promote further cooperation between the two countries.”
A local Sudanese news agency stated earlier that Ethiopian Minister of Water and Energy Alemayhu Tegenu told Turkish state-run Anadolu news agency in an interview: “I would like to emphasise that Ethiopia is a sovereign state and will not wait for permission from anyone to build dams and development projects on tributaries of the Nile River, and we reiterate that this dam will not cause any harm to the interests of others.”
Throughout the past two years, the Nile Basin countries met regularly to deal with Egypt’s major concern regarding its annual share of the water after the construction of the GERD.
Egypt currently holds the lion’s share of the Nile’s water resources of 55bn cubic metres, compared to the Sudanese share of 18bn cubic metres. This is of an average of 84bn cubic metres annually, according to the 1929 and 1959 agreements with Sudan, which took place in Ethiopia’s absence.
Studies were conducted to clarify that Egypt’s water resources will be affected negatively upon the completion of the project. Diplomatic relations between Egypt and Ethiopia were strained due to statements released by both parties.