Nile Basin Countries to hold meeting on Renaissance Dam soon in Cairo: Minister
Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam - AFP

CAIRO: Water ministers of Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia are scheduled to meet soon in Cairo to discuss the Renaissance Dam crisis in light of circumstances in the three countries, Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Hossam Moghazi said in a Tuesday statement during his two-day visit to Sudan, Youm7 reported Tuesday.

Egypt’s Moghazi arrived in Khartoum Tuesday for a two day visit to discuss usage of the Nile River as well as to boost bilateral relations between the two countries in the field of water resources.

Moghazi invited his Ethiopian and Sudanese counterparts to meet in Cairo for negotiations on Ethiopia’s Renaissance Dam, in accordance to the joint statement issued during the Egyptian Ethiopian Summit, which was held on the sidelines of the African Union summit in Malabo, Youm7 reported Tuesday.

The Sudanese Minister of Water Resources and Electricity Moataz Moussa welcomed Egypt’s invitation and expressed his intent “to  bring closer the views of the three Nile Basin countries in order to boost cooperation and coordination on joint projects,” according to a Tuesday statement issued by Moussa following his meeting with Moghazi in Khartoum.

During the visit, Moghazi said that he would make suggestions that would change Egypt’s stance on the Nile Basin Initiative. In 2010, Egypt and Sudan withdrew from the Nile Basin Initiative when Rwanda, Ethiopia, Uganda and Tanzania signed a new Nile Basin Cooperative Framework Agreement. The new agreement would increase these countries’ share at the expense of Egypt and Sudan’s water share.

Egypt and Sudan did not sign the agreement, as experts said it was against the interests of the two countries and could result in smaller shares of Nile water for the two countries who currently collectively receive a 90 percent share of the water. The agreement is one of the most controversial issues recently discussed in the region.

Egypt’s President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi visited Sudan on June 27 to discuss bilateral relations.

The Renaissance Dam sparked tension between Egypt and Ethiopia and is scheduled to start operating by late 2015, according to deputy chair of the National Coordinating Council for the project Zadig Abraha in previous press statements in March. He said the dam is supposed to produce 750 megawatts daily.

But the dam would have drawbacks on Egypt since according to experts the dam is expected to reduce Egypt’s annual share of Nile water by 12 billion cubic meters. Both countries convened many meetings to ease the tension between them but they are yet to reach a final solution.

Ethiopia began the construction of the Renaissance Dam two months after former President Hosni Mubarak stepped down in 2011.

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