Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia to meet on Nile dam in Washington

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FILE PHOTO: Water flows through Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam as it undergoes construction work on the river Nile in Guba Woreda, Benishangul Gumuz Region, Ethiopia September 26, 2019. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Ethiopia’s Grand Renaissance Dam is seen as it undergoes construction work on the river Nile in Guba Woreda, Benishangul Gumuz Region, Ethiopia September 26, 2019. Picture taken September 26, 2019. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri/File Photo

The Egyptian government announced on Monday that a meeting of foreign and water ministers of Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia on the disputed Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on the Nile River will be held on February 27-28 in Washington.

In a statement, the Egyptian cabinet said the Supreme Committee for Nile Water, headed by Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly, held a meeting on Monday to review the latest developments of the GERD issue in preparation for the Washington meeting which would also be attended by the World Bank chief.

Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan have held a series of meetings in Washington and their capitals since a meeting at the level of the ministers of foreign affairs and ministers of water resources on Nov. 6 last year.

The U.S.-sponsored tripartite ministerial meetings, which were also attended by representatives of the World Bank, discussed the rules regulating the filling and operation of GERD.

The talks, which came after years of fruitless negotiations, have led to a consensus on a timetable and a plan for filling the dam, with a final agreement expected to be concluded and signed later this month.

Ethiopia, an upstream Nile Basin country, started building its grand hydropower dam in 2011 on the Blue Nile, while Egypt, a downstream country, is concerned that the dam might affect its 55.5-billion-cubic-meter annual share of Nile water.

But Sudan, also a downstream country, eyes future benefits from the GERD construction despite Egypt’s concerns, as the GERD is expected to produce more than 6,000 megawatts of electricity and become Africa’s largest hydropower dam upon completion.

While Ethiopia wants to fill the reservoir with a capacity of 74 billion cubic meters in five to six years, Egypt seeks to prolong the period to avoid the possibility of a water shortage.

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