File- FILE- A general view shows construction activity on the Grand Renaissance dam in Guba Woreda, Benishangul Gumuz region in this March 16, 2014 file photo. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri/Files
CAIRO - 15 November 2019: President Abdel Fatah El Sisi and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan expressed their satisfaction with the outcomes of Washington meetings on the controversial Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), as per a joint communiqué on Friday.
Both leaders highlighted the significance of reaching an agreement that secures the rights of the Nile Basin countries and avoids any harm to their water interests, the communique added.
Coincidently, the first round of a four-meeting series between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam convenes on Friday in Addis Ababa, stated the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation on Thursday.
Held with the participation of the US and World Bank representatives, the first round will last for two days, during which water ministers of the three countries will discuss the disputed rules of the dam's operation and filling with Nile water, the ministry's statement read.
The meetings are being held upon the outcomes of the Washington meeting on GERD on November 6, 2019 to reach an agreement between the three countries by January 15, 2020.
Egypt and Ethiopia are at loggerheads over the $4-billion dam; Cairo voiced concern over its water 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 began in 2014.
One year later, the three countries signed the Declaration of Principles, per which the downstream countries [Egypt and Sudan] should not be negatively affected by the construction of the dam.
However, Cairo has recently blamed Addis Ababa for hindering a final agreement concerning a technical problem, calling for activating Article No. 10 of the Declaration of Principles, which stipulates that if the three countries could not find a solution to these differences, they have to ask for mediation.
Later the US sent an invitation to the three countries to resume the talks; meetings were held with the foreign ministers and water ministers of Egypt and Upper stream countries, in the presence of United States Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin and a representative from the World Bank.
President Donald Trump praised on Wednesday a meeting with top representatives from the three countries, saying on his Twitter that it “went well and discussions will continue during the day!”
President Sisi also lauded the constructive and pivotal role played by President Trump and the US, which reflects the depth of the strategic relations between Egypt and the United States, saying that this would contribute to reaching an agreement on the filling and operation of GERD, promoting stability and development in East Africa.
Additional reporting by Amr Moahmed Kandil