FILE- A general view of Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam is seen during a media tour along the river Nile in Benishangul Gumuz Region, Guba Woreda, in Ethiopia March 31, 2015 - AFP.
CAIRO – 21 June 2019: In a meeting with his Ethiopian counterpart Gedu Andargachew on Thursday, Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry called for accelerating the negotiations on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) and abiding by all accords reached among Ethiopia and the Nile downstream countries (Egypt and Sudan).
Shoukry affirmed Egypt will call for convening a six-party meeting includes ministers of foreign affairs and irrigation of Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia to resume the negotiations about the dam for “securing Egypt and Sudan’s interests and achieving Ethiopia’s development,” said Egyptian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Ahmed Hafez in a statement on Thursday.
The ministers also tackled other bilateral relations and regional issues of mutual concerns, added Hafez. The meeting with held on the sidelines of the Ministerial Regional Partners of the Sudan Meeting, which convened in Addis Ababa on Thursday.
When Ethiopia started building the GERD on Blue Nile, from which Egypt’s 80 percent of Nile’s water share (55 billion cubic meters) comes in May 2011, downstream countries voiced their concern as the dam could affect their water shares. Since then, the relation between Cairo and Addis Ababa strained.
In 2014, however, three countries started a series of tripartite meetings to discuss the possible negative impacts of the GERD and they inked Declaration of Principles to not causing significant damage to Egypt and Sudan on March 15, 2015.
In previous remarks to Egypt Today, former head of the Central Department for Technical Cooperation at the Nile Sector of the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation Mamdouh Mohamed Hassan said that the current debate between Egypt and Ethiopia on GERD is a technical one, adding that Ethiopia asked for 5-6 years to fill the dam’s reservoir, while Egypt expressed its desire that Ethiopia abide by the Nile water quantity flow in filling the reservoir to “avoid any significant damage on the downstream countries.”