The leaders of Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan this week set a 30-day deadline for finding ways to break the deadlock in talks over Ethiopia’s mega dam on the Nile.
On Monday (29 July) Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and his Sudanese counterpart Omar Hassan al-Bashir met Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn during an African Union summit in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.
"They instructed their water and energy ministers to draw up in one month a report that thrashes out ways to resolve all outstanding issues regarding the dam," an Ethiopian official who attended the talks told Reuters.
The leaders also agreed to meet annually and set up a fund for infrastructure such as a railway linking the three countries, the official said.
At the meeting, Hailemariam said the project "was never intended to harm any country but to fulfil vital electricity needs and enhance development cooperation in the region", according to a report by state-run Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation.
Egypt’s state news agency reported that the three countries had agreed to finish the initial technical study within one month, citing the foreign minister.
Egypt relies on the Nile for most of its water and fears the $4bn, 6-GW Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) will restrict its flow, while Ethiopia insists it will have no negative impact.
Talks on the scope of impact studies between the three countries broke down in November last year.
More than 60% complete, GERD is central to Ethiopia’s ambitious power exporting plans.
Image: Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, left, and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn (GCR/Wikimedia Commons)