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. 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.

Egypt’s cabinet discusses preparation for GERD tripartite negotiations

Fri, Sep. 27, 2019
CAIRO - 27 September 2019: Egypt’s High Committee on Nile Water, chaired by Prime Minister Moustafa Madbuly, held on Thursday a high-level meeting to discuss Egypt’s technical and scientific proposal on Ethiopia over the controversial Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam due on October 5-6 in Khartoum, according to a statement by the Egyptian cabinet.

The High committee tackled preparation for the meeting due to convene by the independent scientific group in Khartoum in the period between September 30 and October 3, the statement said, adding that the independent team’s meeting comes ahead of the tripartite discussions among Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia due on October 4-5.

The High Committee on Nile Water discussed the importance of engaging into “serious technical negotiation” on the Egyptian proposal, which was rejected by the Ethiopian side, the statement said.

“The Committee discussed the importance of engaging in serious technical negotiations on the Egyptian proposal, and [engaging in] other ideas or theses that contribute to the convergence of views, and help to reach a fair and equitable accord, with taking into consideration the interests of the three countries, without fait accompli,” the statement read.

The Committee meeting was attended by Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Moahmed Abdel-Atti and Foreign Deputy Minister for African Affairs Hamdi Loza, and representatives of the Ministry of Defense and the Egyptian Intelligence Service, the statement said.

Egypt and Ethiopia are at loggerheads over the controversial and under-construction Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) as Cairo voiced its concern over its share after Ethiopia started building the dam on the Blue Nile in May 2011. A series of tripartite talks between the two countries along with Sudan has begun in 2014. One year later, the three countries reached an agreement, per which the downstream countries [Egypt and Sudan] should not be affected by the construction of the dam. However, the two countries recently blamed each other for hindering a final agreement concerning the technical problem.

Five days ago, Sameh Shoukry told Al Monitor in New York that the Ethiopian development should come at the expense of the lives of Egyptians.

He added that the disagreement is a “scientific issue”, saying “science should not be manipulated politically.” The problematic point between Egypt and Ethiopia is related to the period of filling the dam’s reservoir with water; Egypt has recently submitted the Ethiopian and Sudanese sides a proposal to fill the dam’s reservoir over seven years. The dam’s capacity is 73 billion cubic meters of water and this means that Egypt will lose 10 billion cubic meters annually of its 55.5 water share over the proposed period. However, Ethiopia rejected the offer.

 
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