Egypt announced on Wednesday the success of a high-level meeting on Ethiopia’s Great Renaissance Dam, while the three countries, which also include Sudan, agreed to form a new scientific research committee to develop several scenarios related to the filling and operating rules, in accordance with the principle of fair and equitable use of common water resources.
Nine officials from Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia (ministers of foreign affairs and irrigation and heads of intelligence services) agreed at a meeting hosted by the Ethiopian capital to grant the scientific research committee a three-month deadline to present the results of its consultations to the ministers of irrigation, before submitting them before the higher-level meeting.
For nearly three years, the three counties have been locked in stalled negotiations over the Renaissance Dam, which Egypt fears it would negatively affect the flow of its annual share of the Nile River, estimated at 56 billion cubic meters per year. Ethiopia says the dam will have many benefits, especially in the production of electricity, and will not hurt the downstream countries, including Sudan and Egypt.
The three states concerned are relying on an international technical engineering consultancy office to study the implications of the dam.
According to a statement issued at the end of the meeting, the officials agreed to hold “periodic summits every six months alternating between the capitals of the three countries, in accordance with the directives of heads of state and government and in the spirit of unity to meet the hopes of the people to live in peace, security and welfare, based on cooperation between them.”
The statement added that Egypt would host a meeting in July to discuss ways to establish the “tripartite fund for infrastructure” to be presented to the leaders of the three countries by the concerned ministers.
In remarks to Asharq Al-Awsat, expert on African affairs and water at Al-Ahram Center for Political Studies, Dr. Ayman al-Sayed Abdul Wahab, said that the outcome of the meeting did not bring any new solutions to the main contentious issues, such as the means of filling the dam.
He added that the meeting was a means to reaffirm goodwill and try to push the technical path forward, without finding practical solutions to manage the water of the Nile Basin.