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Water minister to visit Ethiopia mid-September - Daily News Egypt

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Water minister to visit Ethiopia mid-September

Egypt officials seek mutual agreement with Ethiopian counterparts over GERD project

Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Hossam El-Moghazy is expected to visit Ethiopia mid-September, according to ministry spokesman Khalid Wasif.

“The visit date isn’t settled yet due to commitments from both sides,” Wasif said.

El-Moghazy will lead a delegation of Egyptian experts to Addis Ababa to discuss the Grand Renaissance Dam (GERD) project.

This visit comes at a time of high-level talks between the two countries, in attempt to reach a common position on GERD, which is currently under construction.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry visited Ethiopia on Thursday, and was quoted on state-run MENA as saying that Egypt considers its relations with Ethiopia a key component of its foreign policy.

GERD, which is currently 30% complete, according to Ethiopian Government press statements in February, is a hydroelectric power dam and has raised concerns from the Egyptian government over its share of the Nile River water.

President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi is expected to hold talks with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn at the UN Headquarters in New York on 16 September. The talks are likely to take place on the sidelines of the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly.

Ethiopian Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told state-owned MENA that the meeting is of great importance for strengthening bilateral relations between the two countries.

Al-Sisi and Desalegn met in June on the sidelines of the African Union summit in Malabo. The two countries later announced their decision to form a joint committee within three months to streamline discussions on GERD.

Downstream countries Egypt and Sudan together receive the majority of Nile water. As per agreements signed in 1929 and 1959, Egypt annually receives 55.5bn cubic metres of the estimated total 84bn cubic metres of Nile water produced each year and Sudan receives 18.5bn cubic metres.

However, the two water sharing agreements, which guarantee Egypt the lion’s share of water, were signed in the absence of Ethiopia.

Last month, the fourth round of tripartite talks was held between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan, ending with agreements. Previous tripartite talks had failed.

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