Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Foreign Minister of Egypt Sameh Shoukry to visit Ethiopia after Europe tour

Recent talks between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan on the Ethiopian Dam have ended in agreements

A trip to Ethiopia has been scheduled on Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry’s official agenda, an anonymous source at the foreign ministry said.

The foreign minister, who is currently on a Europe tour, is set to visit Ethiopia after returning from Europe. The minister started his tour in Berlin, is currently in Paris and is scheduled to visit Rome. The tour is slated to end on 3 September.

Egypt and Ethiopia have been locked in a diplomatic dispute over the ongoing construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

Tripartite talks were held between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan on 25 and 26 August in Sudan and were headed by the water ministers of the three countries. In a joint statement, the trio later described the tripartite talks as “honest consultations”.

This was the first round of talks between the trio since January, when the three held talks without having reached any agreements.

On the first day of talks in August, Egypt’s Irrigation and Water Resources Minister Hossam El-Moghazy said “Egypt was never, and will never be against the development [of Nile basin countries]”.

However, Egypt is concerned that the dam will affect its share of Nile Water.

Together, Egypt and Sudan receive a majority of the Nile water. According to agreements the two countries signed in 1929 and 1959, Egypt annually receives 55.5bn cubic metres and Sudan receives 18.5bn cubic metres of the estimated total 84bn cubic metres of Nile water produced each year.

Egypt and Sudan signed these agreements in the absence of Ethiopia.

Egypt and Ethiopia held bilateral talks when then-Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Mohamed Abdul Muttalib led a delegation to Ethiopia. However, the delegation returned from Ethiopia after failing to resolve “sticking points” on the dam.