Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry will travel to the US on Monday to participate in talks with the foreign and irrigation ministers of Ethiopia and Sudan over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) in a final bid to resolve months of stalemates between Cairo and Addis Ababa over the operation of the mega dam.
Egypt’s foreign ministry said in a statement early on Monday that the meetings, scheduled for 12 and 13 February, come under an agreement by the parties involved in the most recent round of talks, on 28-31 January, to reconvene in Washington this month to ratify a final version of a comprehensive agreement over the filling and operation of the GERD.
Last month, the ministers of foreign affairs and water resources of the three countries agreed on a schedule for the filling plan and a mitigation mechanism for filling the dam during times of drought and prolonged drought.
The last round of negotiations, which began on 28 and 29 January and saw an extension of two additional days, was sponsored by the US and the World Bank, who are acting as observers in the talks.
The signing of a final comprehensive agreement is scheduled for late February, and the ministers have instructed their technical and legal teams to prepare the points for the final agreement.
Tensions have been building between Egypt and Ethiopia in recent months after talks on the technical details governing the operation of the dam had failed to make progress.
Ethiopia hopes that the massive $4.8 billion project on the Blue Nile, which has been under construction since 2011, will allow it to become Africa’s largest power exporter.