A report on the potential effects relating to the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam was delivered to President Mohamed Morsi on Sunday by the Egyptian members of an international panel of experts (IPoE) responsible for drafting the findings. Following the meeting Morsi called for a national meeting and has invited leaders from major political parties including prominent figures from the National Salvation Front.
The Egyptian delegation met with Morsi at the Presidential Palace on Sunday morning. Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohamed Kamel Amr and Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources Mohamed Bahaa Al-Din are also expected to attend the meeting, according to a presidential statement published on Sunday.
The delegation presented the final findings of the report, which Egypt wants to be the basis for any decision regarding the issue of the construction of the dam. According to the presidency’s statement the delegation will discuss “the extent to which Egypt’s expectations are met in securing water resources” without affecting Egypt’s share of the Nile waters.
Following the Sunday morning meeting, Morsi called for a “national meeting of [political] groups, political parties and some popular figures to inform them of the results of the report and display the presidency’s vision of dealing with the situation”. The meeting is scheduled to take place on Monday afternoon.
Presidential adviser for Political Affairs Pakinam El-Sharkawy announced that Morsi had tasked her with extending invitations to prominent political figures including Freedom and Justice Party Chairman Saad El-Katatni, Al-Nour Party Chairman Younis Makhyoun, National Salvation Front and Al-Dostour Party leader Mohamed ElBaradei, Conference Party Chairman Amr Moussa, Ghad Al-Thawra Party Chairman Ayman Nour, former presidential candidate and Misr Al-Qawia Party leader Abdel Moneim Fotouh, Al-Tayar Al-Sha’aby leader Hamdeen Sabahy, disqualified presidential candidate and Al-Raya Party leader Hazem Abu Ismail, Al-Wafd Party Chairman El-Sayed El-Badawi, Free Egyptians Party Chairman Ahmed Saeed, Egypt’s Future Party Chairman Amr Khaled, as well as political leaders like Abdel Ghafar Shukr, Mohamed Abul-Ghar, Amr Hamzawy and representatives from the Al-Azhar and the Coptic Church.
The IPoE tripartite committee is made up of representatives from Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia as well as experts in the fields of water resources, hydrologic modelling and dam engineering.
Ethiopia began diverting water from the one of the Nile’s main tributaries, the Blue Nile on 28 May. Many described the move as a surprise, but Bahaa Al-Din denied this saying the process started “some time ago”. He also described the diversion of the water to be an “engineering procedure”, adding that it would not stop the flow of water to Egypt.
Prime Minister Hesham Qandil met with his Ethiopian counterpart Hailemariam Desalegn on Saturday on the sidelines of an international conference on African Development being held in Tokyo. The two prime ministers agreed on three principles, the first being the dam would not affect Egypt’s share of Nile water. Secondly, Qandil insisted Ethiopia uphold its commitments and prior agreements moving forward. The third principle agreed upon was to wait for the IPoE report before Egypt takes any further action.
There are fears in Egypt and Sudan that the construction of the dam will impact the downstream countries’ share of the Nile Water. Egypt has held the largest share of the water as per agreements signed in 1929 and 1959, which guaranteed Egypt 55.5 billion cubic metres of the estimated 84 billion cubic metres available annually.