Egypt’s Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Mohamed Abdel Ati headed to Ethiopia on Friday to attend the 18th meeting of the technical committee on the Grand Renaissance Ethiopian Dam (GERD), which kicked off Saturday.
The meeting came to resolve disagreements between Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia over the technical report written by French consulting firms Arterlia and BRL, and to reaffirm the agreed upon articles of the Declaration of Principles on the GERD, signed between them in 2015, in order to complete the studies on the dam. The three countries are seeking to continue the studies on constructing the dam without negatively impacting the downstream states.
A technical committee of five experts will accompany the minister. Experts of the technical committees of Sudan and Ethiopia will also attend the meeting. The meeting came in response to Egypt’s call for a new round of talks to speed up the pace of the negotiations.
On 5 April, the foreign and irrigation ministers of Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia attended a meeting held in Khartoum to continue discussions over the technical report. They had announced a lack of agreement on the issue of the dam but said they will hold a meeting within a month with experts from the three countries.
During the meeting, the officials are scheduled to find a way to solve the obstacles to continuing the technical studies that will test the impact of the dam on Egypt and Sudan. Previously, in 2017, delegations of the three countries failed to reach a consensus on an initial technical report by the French firms on the dam. The firms were tasked with assessing the environmental and economic impact of the dam on downstream countries.
The construction of the GERD started in April 2011. Egypt has expressed concerns that the construction of the dam could negatively affect its historic Nile water share of 55bn cubic metres, which it has had access to since a 1959 agreement between Egypt and Sudan. However, Ethiopian leaders have repeatedly affirmed that it will not impact Egypt’s water share.