CAIRO: Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry will visit Ethiopia after talks over Ethiopia’s controversial Renaissance Dam in the Sudanese capital Khartoum on Tuesday, according to a statement issued Friday evening by the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Shoukry phoned his Ethiopian counterpart Tedros Adhanom Thursday to discuss the latest developments on holding a meeting of the Tripartite committee in Khartoum about the dam. The committee will be chaired by the Water Resources Ministers of Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan, said Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Badr Abdel Atty in the statement.
During the phone call, Shoukry highlighted the importance of visiting Addis Ababa to evaluate what would be agreed on during the meeting in Khartoum, Atty added.
The timing of Shoukry’s Ethiopia visit has not yet been scheduled.
Negotiations were originally to be held Aug. 16 and 17 in Khartoum. However, the Ethiopian government sent Egypt a request asking for a delay in negotiations, state news agency MENA reported Egypt’s Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Hossam Moghazy as saying on June 29.
Anadolu News Agency reported Aug. 8 that 35.8 percent of the Ethiopian dam construction has been completed, according to an announcement issued by Ethiopia’s National Council for the Coordination of Construction of the Renaissance Dam.
Egypt on May 5 issued a report warning that building the dam, which is expected to be operational in 2017, could shrink Egypt’s share of Nile water by 12 billion cubic meters, al-Ahram reported.
According to the Entebbe Agreement, four Nile Basin states (Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania and Ethiopia) would take a larger share of Nile water, which would affect both Sudan and Egypt. The latter two countries currently receive 90 percent of Nile water as dictated by a treaty signed by all Nile Basin Country member states in 1929, BBC reported May 14.
Construction of the Renaissance Dam sparked controversy between Ethiopia and Egypt when it began during the reign of former President Mohamed Morsi. As reported widely in media and made available on YouTube by Morsi’s Freedom and Justice Party, Morsi said in a speech at the Popular Conference on Egypt’s Rights to Nile Water in June 2013 that if Egypt’s share of Nile water decreases, “Egyptians’ blood will be the alternative.”
Relations with Ethiopia have warmed since the beginning of the administration of current President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi.
Sisi discussed the controversial dam with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn on the sidelines of the 23rd African Union (AU) Summit in Malabo on June 26, and agreed to form the tripartite dam committee, Al-Ahram reported.