Leaders of Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan to meet in Addis Ababa Monday for Nile dam talks

The leaders of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan will meet on Monday on the sidelines of the African Union summit in Addis Ababa, Al-Ahram’s Arabic website reported.

The meeting is aimed at breaking the deadlock in negotiations over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), Reuters quoted official sources as saying on Sunday. The dam is under construction on the Blue Nile in the Ethiopian highlands.

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi arrived in Addis Ababa on Saturday to participate in the 30th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union, which is taking place from 22 to 29 January.

Sisi also chaired a meeting by the Peace and Security Council (PSC), the AU body in charge of maintaining continental peace and security, which Egypt is heading in January.

The Egyptian president met on Saturday with his Sudanese counterpart, Omar Al-Bashir, in the Ethiopian capital.

Negotiations between the three countries broke down in November over how to conduct technical studies of the dam’s potential impact on downstream countries; Egypt approved of the initial report on the issue by European consultancy firms, while Ethiopia and Sudan demanded major amendments to the proposed studies.

Last week, Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry spoke to his Ethiopian counterpart Workneh Gebeyehu by phone to express Cairo’s concerns over reports that Addis Ababa rejected Egypt’s proposal to involve the World Bank in the stalled technical negotiations.

Earlier this month, El-Sisi received Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn in Cairo and stressed the necessity of overcoming any current obstacles in negotiations over the dam.

Sisi stressed his “extreme concern” over the lack of progress in the negotiations over the building of Ethiopia’s massive dam, though he did express understanding of the developmental goals the east African country aims to achieve via the GERD.

The dam, situated near Ethiopia’s border with Sudan, is slated for completion this year and expected to generate 6,000 megawatts of electricity.

Ethiopia hopes to be able to export electricity generated by the dam, which will be the largest hydroelectric power plant in Africa.

Egypt, however, has expressed concerns that the dam might reduce its share of Nile water.

Ethiopia maintains that the dam will not have any negative impact on Egypt or Sudan.

Source: Ahram online