Egypt on Sunday expressed concern about its share of the Nile River water after its meeting with Ethiopia and Sudan failed to approve an initial study on the effects of Ethiopia’s new dam on the downstream states.
The two-day ministerial meeting of the tripartite technical committee of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), which kicked off on Saturday, failed to approve an introductory report by a consultant company on the dam’s effects on the two downstream countries, namely Egypt and Sudan.
“Egypt is concerned about this development that could obstruct technical studies despite Egypt’s efforts and flexibility over the past months to make sure the studies will be completed as soon as possible,” said Egypt’s Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Mohamed Abdel-Aati.
The irrigation ministers of Ethiopia and Sudan did not approve the consultant company’s introductory report of the studies despite Egypt’s initial approval, while asking for amendments that would affect the studies and make the report contentless.
Egypt is worried about its annual share of 55.5 billion cubic meters of the Nile River water amid the GERD’s rapid construction.
Egypt’s ties with Ethiopia have seen ups and downs since the latter started the dam project since April 2011 as Egypt has been suffering from turmoil following an uprising that toppled former president Hosni Mubarak.
When President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi took office in 2014, he showed understanding of Ethiopia’s aspiration for development through the GERD that would produce around 6,000 megawatts of electricity to the country.
In March 2015, the leaders of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan signed an initial cooperation deal on the principles of sharing the Nile River water and the construction of the GERD, which will be Africa’s largest dam upon completion.
Earlier in 2010, an agreement was signed among some Nile Basin states in Uganda’s Entebbe about the sharing of the Nile River water, but it was rejected by Egypt and its downstream partner Sudan, citing the deal affects their usual annual share of the Nile water.
On the other hand, relations between Egypt and Sudan have been tense over the past years on various issues.
In May, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir accused Egypt of providing military support to armed rebels in his country. The two countries also have a territorial dispute over the border region of Halayeb and Shalateen.