Higher Committee for Nile Water convenes ahead of critical meetings on GERD

The Higher Committee for Nile Water, chaired by Egypt’s Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly, held a meeting on Thursday attended by Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Mohamed Abdel Aaty, Deputy Foreign Minister for African Affairs Hamdy Sanad Loza, and representatives of the Ministry of Defense and General Intelligence.

The Committee discussed preparations for the meetings of the independent scientific group scheduled to be held in the Sudanese capital Khartoum from September 30 to October 3. This meeting will be followed by another meeting attended by the Ministers of Water in Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia in Khartoum on October 4 and 5 to discuss the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) crisis.

The Egyptian officials discussed on Thursday the need to push for serious technical negotiations during the scientific group’s meeting. These technical negotiations should be applied to the Egyptian proposal and any other ideas or theses that would contribute to the convergence of views and help reach a fair agreement that takes into account the interests of the three countries without imposing a fait accompli.

Loza held two meetings with Arab and African ambassadors to Cairo to brief them on the latest negotiations between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan on the rules for filling and operating the dam.

Loza said the latest round of negotiations, held in Cairo on September 15 and 16 by the water ministers of the three countries, did not make any progress or witness any technical discussions due to Ethiopia’s refusal to consider the Egyptian vision for filling and operating rules. Ethiopia insists on limiting the discussion to its vision.

The deputy minister explained the Egyptian position on the dam’s filling and operating rules, which he said is fair and balanced and would enable Ethiopia to achieve the purpose of the dam, which is to generate electricity without harming the water interests of the downstream countries, especially those of Egypt, which depends entirely on the Nile to meet its water needs.

Regarding broader international communications on the matter, Loza also highlighted Sisi’s recent speech at the UN General Assembly, which stressed Egypt’s keenness to deepen cooperation with the Nile Basin countries and its understanding that these countries, including Ethiopia, have taken on building projects on the Nile to serve their development plans.

The deputy minister further stressed, though, that the Nile Basin countries’ development should not be carried out at the expense of downstream countries, especially not of Egypt, where the Nile water is critical to life.

He called on Addis Ababa to engage in serious technical negotiations regarding the Egyptian proposal and any other ideas and theses that contribute to the convergence of views and help reach a fair agreement that takes into account the interests of the three countries.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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