By Ahmed El-Kastawy
Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said “reaching an agreement that achieves the common benefits for Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia is a must”, during his visit to Sudan on Wednesday.
In his speech at the opening session of the tripartite committee meeting, which discussed the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), the minister said that “the meeting aims at building new relations with Nile basin countries”.
He confirmed: “The committee exerts many efforts to make use of any possible chance for cooperation which may result in fulfilling ambitions of people of the three countries who dream of prosperous and safer future.”
Furthermore, Shoukry said the meeting, held in the Sudanese capital Khartoum, is “unique” and important. It is the first meeting to be held with the participation of two other ministries, including the Ministry of Water Resources and Ministry of Agriculture.
During the visit, Shoukry also met the Sudanese president Omar El-Bashir, where both officials discussed recent regional issues. These included the situation in Libya and the importance of supporting the UN delegate Bernardino Leon in reaching a political settlement there.
Over the past two years, Nile basin countries have met regularly to deal with Egypt’s major concern regarding its annual share of Nile water after the construction of the GERD.
Egypt currently holds the lion’s share of the Nile’s water resources of 55bn cubic metres, compared to the Sudanese share of 18bn cubic metres. This is of an average of 84bn cubic metres annually, according to the 1929 and 1959 agreements with Sudan, which took place in Ethiopia’s absence.
Studies were conducted to clarify Egypt’s water resources will not be affected upon the completion of the project. Diplomatic relations between Egypt and Ethiopia were strained due to statements released by both parties.