Egypt’s foreign minister arrived in Sudan yesterday for a two-day summit with counterparts to discuss the massive Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), now under construction on the Blue Nile, which Egypt fears will cut its vital water supplies.
Talks on the controversial dam were suspended in February amid political turmoil in Ethiopia which led to the sudden resignation of Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn.
A new prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, was sworn in this week on 2 April. Hopes for stability are pinned on Ahmed, the country’s first prime minister from the large Oromo ethnic group, whose members have been protesting for a number of years for better representation.
Egypt’s foreign minister Sameh Shoukry arrived in Sudan for the meeting attended by chiefs of intelligence and ministers of foreign affairs and irrigation in Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia, Associated Press reports.
A spokesman for the Egyptian foreign ministry said the meeting, originally scheduled for February, would attempt to settle contentious issues over the dam, which is set to be Africa’s largest hydroelectric scheme.
Reported to be at least 60% complete, the dam is being built by Italy’s Salini Impregilo.
The dam has been a sore point in Egypt-Ethiopian relations since construction began in 2011.
Tensions spiked in November last year when talks over the scope of impact studies broke down.
Image: The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, under construction on the Blue Nile, will be the largest hydroelectric power plant in Africa (http://www.geosociety.org/)