Egypt is ready for “serious negotiations” over the Nile issue, said Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy on Saturday during a meeting with European Union and American diplomats.
Fahmy received EU Special Representative to the Horn of Africa Alexander Rondos and Special Coordinator for Water Resources at the United States Department of State Aaron Salzberg. They discussed developments in Somalia, South Sudan and addressed Nile water security, a statement by the foreign ministry said.
On the Nile water issue, Fahmy said: “It is necessary to not harm the interests of any party, taking into account our full dependence [is] on Nile water,” adding that Egypt is ready to negotiate “in order to reach solutions to the concerns and issues”.
Ethiopia echoed similar discourse on Thursday. Ethiopian Minister of Foreign Affairs Tedros Adhanom said Ethiopia is “committed to genuine negotiations with Egypt” in order to address the downstream nation’s concerns about the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).
Ethiopia began constructing the GERD in April 2011. Egypt is concerned about the effect of the dam on its share of Nile water. In 2013, a set of recommendations were released in the final report by the International Panel of Experts (IPOE). There have been further disagreements between Egypt and Ethiopia as to how they should be implemented.
Fahmy said during the Saturday meeting that it is important to implement the recommendations of the IPOE report by evaluating the effects of the dam on the environment, safety measures, and water flow to the downstream countries of Egypt and Sudan.
Tripartite talks were held between Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia in November, December and January, but no agreement was reached and tensions between Egypt and Ethiopia have prevailed. They held bi-lateral talks in February that have also come to a close after failing to resolve the sticking points of the debate between the two countries.
Fahmy also demonstrated in the meeting Egypt’s position towards the conditions in the Horn of Africa and the importance of achieving stability in order to focus on development efforts.