A tripartite meeting among the Sudanese, Egyptian and Ethiopian leaders on Sunday has decided to provide a high-level political umbrella to support the talks on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).
The three leaders, Omer al-Bashir, Abdel-Fatah al-Sisi and Abiy Ahmed have met on the sidelines of the African Union summit in Addis Ababa.
According to Egypt’s presidential spokesperson, Bassam Radi, the meeting was a continuation of the talks among the three leaders that started in January 2018 aiming to overcome any impediments pertaining to the GERD negotiations.
He added that President al-Sisi stressed the importance of adopting a balanced and cooperative vision for the filling and operation of the dam to achieve the interests of the three countries.
Radi pointed out that the three leaders underscored the urgency of developing a unified view on the dam on the basis of the declaration of principles signed in Khartoum.
He further said the meeting discussed ways and means of promoting cooperation and relations among the three countries.
Egypt fears that its water share would be drawn down by the filling of the GERD which is expected to hold 74 billion cubic metres of water and generate electrical power of up to 6,000 megawatts.
In 2015, Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia signed a declaration of principles on the dam project that tacitly approves the dam construction but calls for technical studies aimed at safeguarding the water quotas of the three riparian states.
On September 22, 2014, a tripartite committee from the three countries proposed the conduction of two additional studies on the dam project, the first one on the effect of the dam on the water quota of Sudan and Egypt and the second one to examine the dam’s ecological, economic and social impacts of the dam on Sudan and Egypt.
The French engineering consultancy Artelia and BRL groups have been selected to undertake the dam impact studies. The U.K.-based law firm Corbett & Co was selected to manage the legal affairs of the tripartite committee.
Last May, the three countries agreed to set up a joint technical team – 5 members from each country- to study the filling of the GERD reservoir and operating the dam. Egypt withdrew its proposal to resort to the World Bank on the matter.
The technical team held four meetings to discuss options and strategies for filling the GERD.