CAIRO: President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi will meet with the irrigation and foreign ministers in the upcoming days to update him with the results of the recent six-party meeting on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD,) a source told Youm7 Wednesday.
Irrigation Minister Hossam Moghazy has drafted a report on the two-day meeting Dec. 11-12; the report notes that Cairo demanded that the Egyptian, Ethiopian and Sudanese foreign ministers play a “larger, effective” role in containing the technical disputes of the Tripartite Committee and “save negotiations,” the informed source at the Irrigation Ministry said.
Egypt also demanded a mechanism to apply the terms of the Charter of Principles of GERD, signed by Cairo, Addis Ababa and Khartoum in March.
Egypt has cautioned that the construction of GERD at its planned design would be catastrophic, expecting the impact to desertify swathes of farmland, and salinize other arable areas, reduce the level of underground water, and affect the already declining share of drinking water per capita, among other adverse consequences.
Another six-party meeting, which involves the irrigations and foreign ministers of the three countries, is scheduled for Dec. 27-28 at the request of Ethiopia because the Egyptian questions and demands need “more studying and consultations,” Advisor to Irrigation Minister Alaa Yassin previously told Youm7.
It would be “unfair” to label the six-party meeting on the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam held in Khartoum a “failure,” Egypt’s Irrigation Minister Hossam Moghazy told MENA after the round of negotiations, admitting that they were “arduous.”
Ethiopia, which began building the dam soon after the 2011 popular upheaval in Egypt, has repeatedly stated that the dam is essential for its development, and that the Nile water needs to be redistributed “fairly.”
Under old agreements signed in 1929 and 1959, Egypt, which is almost entirely dependent on the Nile water, is entitled to the majority of the Nile’s water, at 55. 5 billion square meters. At the same time, Ethiopia contributes 86 percent of the water sources for the river. Egypt, however, argues that abundant rain in Ethiopia can be exploited, while the weather in Egypt is largely dry.
Additional reporting by Asmaa Nassar.