Ethiopia, Egypt, Sudan leaders agree to cooperate on Nile River Affairs

ADDIS ABABA,- Heads of Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan on Monday agreed to work together in various areas, with particular emphasis given to partnership on Nile River.

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, during their meeting on the margins of the 30th African Union (AU) summit on Monday, have agreed to avoid misunderstandings by working as one.

“They have agreed to work as one on matters among the three countries, particularly on the construction of Ethiopia’s Grand Renaissance Dam,” according to the statement issued by the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday.

The diplomatic relations among Ethiopia and Egypt is largely intertwined with the Blue Nile River that originates from Ethiopia and shared among Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt.

The construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on the river, which will be regarded as Africa’s largest dam upon completion with a total volume of 74,000 million cubic meters, has been a major issue among the two countries since its commencement in April, 2011 with a construction cost of 80 billion Ethiopian birr (close to 4.7 billion U.S. dollars).

The three leaders have also agreed to meet once in a year and put forward future directions regarding common areas of interest, it was noted.

The three Nile-bounded countries have also agreed to form a tripartite development fund institution, which will serve as an instrument to strengthen economic integration and the people to people relations among the three countries.

Desalegn, el-Sisi, and al-Bashir further reached on mutual consensus on the procedures of future discussions among water resources, foreign affairs, and other relevant ministries of the three countries mainly on Ethiopia’s dam.

Accordingly, they have directed reports of relevant ministers’ to be presented to heads of the three countries within a one month margin, it was noted.

According to the statement, the three leaders have also agreed to apply the consensus further on ministerial and expert level.

While Ethiopia and Sudan reached mutual consensus on the construction of the dam, Egypt frequently expressed its concern that the dam would affect its share of the river.

The three countries had formed a tripartite committee back in 2012 to create understanding and look into the benefits and impacts the project would have on the three countries.

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