The water ministers of Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia commenced meetings on Wednesday in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, aimed at resolving disputes over the preliminary report prepared by the Advisory Office of the Renaissance Dam.
During the meetings, Egypt’s Minister of Irrigation Mohamed Abdel Aaty said Egypt is very concerned about the delay of the two studies recommended in the report which is prepared by the International Committee of Experts.
He requested that all procedures be facilitated to complete the studies within the specified time frame, pointing out that thorny issues on the dam were still pending.
“We are facing a critical situation, and we have not yet been able to approve the preliminary report of the advisory office,” said Abdel Aaty.
The three ministers boarded a plane from the Ethiopian capital and arrived at the dam site in a two-hour flight, the irrigation ministry spokesman said. The ministers reviewed the executive situation of the dam and conducted an inspection tour to all its parts.
Water has not yet been stored in throughout the current year, so the dam does not impede the movement of water reaching Egypt so far, the spokesman quoted Abdel Aaty as saying.
A ministerial meeting is to be held on Thursday, with technicians from the three countries, in an attempt to find consensus on the contentious points of the initial report.
Sources said that the tripartite committee agreed on the preliminary report, terms of reference for studies, and the mechanism for exchanging data.
The Ethiopian Foreign Ministry said, in a statement, that the Minister of Water, Irrigation and Electricity of Ethiopia, Seleshi Bekele, explained to his counterparts during the tour the major positive effects of the dam in Ethiopia and in countries of the region upon its completion.
The dam will start generating hydroelectric power during the current fiscal year, said Chairman of the National Council for the Coordination of Public Participation on the Construction of the Grand Renaissance Dam, Debretsion Gebremichael, on Wednesday.
Sudanese Minister of Irrigation Moataz Moussa called for cooperation between the three countries, under the slogan “The Nile River must be united for the peoples of the three countries.”
Moussa praised the role played by the technical committee of the three countries and said that Sudan is committed to the tripartite work to resolve the differences.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm