Ethiopian Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom and his Egyptian counterpart, Sameh Shoukry, held talks on Tuesday to discuss a multibillion-dollar hydroelectric dam being built by Addis Ababa on the Nile’s upper reaches.
“Since the Malabo meeting, we have agreed to conduct a regular discussion at all levels, both technical and political,” Adhanom told a joint press conference in Addis Ababa following the talks.
“The discussion today is part of what we have agreed in Malabo,” he said.
Ethiopia’s top diplomat said his talks with Shoukry had focused on progress made by a tripartite technical committee tasked with evaluating the dam’s anticipated impact.
“We have exchanged views on how to speed up the job assigned to the committee,” said Adhanom.
He added that Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn would meet his Egyptian counterpart, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, on the sidelines of an African Union summit due to kick off on Jan. 29.
Shoukry, for his part, said the two countries had held several meetings over the past six months to discuss ways of improving bilateral relations.
“The engagements have been reinforced by technical- and political-level agreements,” he said. “Political commitment on both sides is also going to help achieve greater progress in this regard.”
The Egyptian diplomat added: “Political understandings between the two nations will set the stage for… technical discussions.”
Since September, a tripartite committee – a 12-member experts’ panel tasked with aiding implementation of recommendations issued by an international panel of experts – has held two working sessions in Addis Ababa and Cairo.
At the two meetings, representatives of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan were able to produce a list of seven firms, one of which will be selected to conduct the studies.
Ethiopia says the multibillion-dollar Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam is needed to generate badly-need energy.
The project, however, has strained Ethiopia’s relations with downstream Egypt, which fears the project will reduce its historical share of water.
Addis Ababa, for its part, insists the new dam will benefit Egypt and Sudan, both of which will be invited to purchase the electricity thus generated.
Source: World Bulletin