The summit between the leaders of Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia in Addis Ababa. Photo provided by the Egyptian presidency
Presidents of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan agreed on Monday to give a new deadline to resolve disputes over the Renaissance Dam and to complete the relevant technical studies within a period of one month.
Negotiations have been stalled for months over a study on the environmental impact of the dam, which Ethiopia is building on one of the main reaches of the Nile, amid fears by Cairo that the project will lead to a reduction in its share of the river waters.
In December, Egypt suggested that the World Bank play a role in resolving the dispute, but Ethiopia rejected the proposal.
On the sidelines of the African Union (AU) Summit in Addis Ababa on Monday, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, his Sudanese counterpart Omar al-Bashir and Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn met to discuss the latest developments.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry announced at the end of the meeting that the leaders have agreed to complete the technical studies of the dam within one month, adding that there would be no intermediate in the negotiations process.
Ambassador Bassam Radi, spokesman for the Egyptian presidency, said that talks during the tripartite summit were honest and transparent.
He added that the officials reviewed the progress of the ongoing negotiations within the framework of the tripartite national committee in charge with studying the effects of the dam on downstream countries.
Radi also said that an agreement was reached to hold a joint meeting of foreign and irrigation ministers from the three countries, along with the tripartite national committee, to present final reports within one month that would include solutions to all outstanding technical issues and ensure the full implementation of the provisions of the Declaration of Principles, which was signed in Khartoum in March 2015.
Quoting the Egyptian president, Radi underlined Cairo’s commitment to conduct productive and positive negotiations by preserving all sides’ interests.
The Ethiopian prime minister, for his part, stressed during the talks that the Renaissance Dam would neither adversely affect the farmers in Egypt and Sudan, nor it would harm the interests of the people in the three countries.
Al-Bashir emphasized that his country would work within the framework of the tripartite national committee to reach an agreement over all technical issues.
Sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that the three leaders have adopted during their meeting on Monday several decisions, including holding summits at the level of presidents on an annual basis, establishing a permanent political committee consisting of foreign ministers and intelligence chiefs to promote relations between the three countries, and forming a technical political committee that would gather the ministers of water and energy.
Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan have also agreed to set up a joint fund with equal contributions to finance infrastructure projects such as a railway line linking the three countries, and the construction of roads and bridges to develop exchanges and facilitate the movement of people.