Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam construction (Photo: Reuters)
CAIRO – 3 July 2018: Cairo will host a series of tripartite meetings with Sudan and Ethiopia starting next week to discuss establishing joint developmental projects.
The joint developmental fund will establish projects related to the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), according to Sudanese Foreign Minister Osama Faisal. The construction of the GERD is 65 percent complete, according to Minister Faisal.
Activating the fund will positively impact the relation between Egypt and Ethiopia, and will enhance mutual cooperation between the three states, said Khaled Abu Zeid, director of the water resources program in The Center for Environment and Development for the Arab Region and Europe (CEDARE).
Abu Zeid added that the fund will also have a positive impact on the path of negotiations around the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, which is under construction.
The three countries have held talks over Ethiopia’s Renaissance Dam. Egypt has been concerned by the probable negative impact of the dam on the state’s water security, as it may decrease water supply to Egypt. Ethiopia denies the claims.
Sudan, on the other side, supports the 6,000 MW dam, as it will provide electricity and irrigation, and will regulate floods, according to Reuters.
Some Ethiopian scholars and researchers said in 2013 that the dam will enable Sudan, whose border is just 30 kilometers away from the dam, to save up to $20 million annually, Sudan Tribune reported.
The nine-way meeting concerning the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) which was set to be held on June 18-19 in Cairo was postponed due to a delay in some official procedures.
Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid told Egypt Today on June 18, that the meeting's new date has not been set yet.
The meeting is set to be attended by ministers of foreign affairs and irrigation and heads of intelligence agencies in Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia.
Sources told the state-owned Akhbar Al-Youm newspaper that the three states have sent their inquiries to the consultancy office that is concerned with technical studies on the controversial dam. However, the office has not yet sent its modified introductory report on the dam.
The consultant should have responded to the inquires submitted over the introductory report within three weeks and one week before Cairo’s nine-party meeting.
In their meeting last May, Nile Basin countries’ negotiators concluded their nine-party meeting in Adis Ababa over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) with an agreement to meet again in Cairo in June following 15 hours of talks.
The postponed meeting aims to work out solutions to pending problems facing the technical committee and consequently special studies on determining the negative impact of the dam's construction on the downstream countries.
Addressing media after the Adis Ababa meeting, Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said that negotiations between the relevant contingents of the Nile Basin countries ended with having all participants agree to commit to the nine-party meeting’s outcomes that were outlined in a specific agreement signed by all parties.
The participants agreed on scheduling a regular tripartite meeting to be held between Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan every six months on a rotational basis to enhance mutual cooperation between the three brotherly countries in a way that serves their interests and fulfills the aspirations of their peoples.
They also agreed on establishing a Tripartite Infrastructure Fund to move forward with joint infrastructure development projects, as well as having the Tripartite National Committee (TNC) of the three countries to deliver its concerns and remarks to the French consulting firm BRLi over its introductory technical report that was not mutually agreed upon.
Ethiopia started to build GERD in 2011 without consulting Egypt, and the move led to a long diplomatic spat between both states. The African Horn state is in desperate need of the dam, as it suffers from staggering daily power outages.
Technical officials in the three countries opted to hire two French consultancy companies – BRL and Artelia – in September 2016. However, the negotiations were brought to a halt in November 2017 as Ethiopia and Sudan objected to the companies’ preliminary report on the environmental impact of GERD.
In December 2017, Egypt demanded the intervention of the World Bank in the matter, a move that was rejected by Ethiopia.