Egypt’s Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation has described Tuesday’s tripartite meeting about Ethiopia’s Renaissance Dam as “not positive”, Today’s Opinion has reported.
The meeting came three weeks after a Sudanese initiative brought the three countries along the River Nile affected by the project to the negotiating table. Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt held a virtual meeting along with international monitors from the US, EU and African Union.
According to Mohamed Abdel Aty, “The results were shocking. It is difficult to describe the meeting as positive or that it resulted in any tangible outcome.”
A statement by the Egyptians explained that the meeting focused on procedural issues related to the timetable of other meetings, the terms of reference for the discussions, the role of the monitors and how many there will be.
China’s Xinhua news agency reported that Egypt has demanded “a comprehensive agreement” before 13 June covering the timetable for filling the reservoir behind the Ethiopian dam and making it operational. The governments in Cairo and Khartoum rejected a proposal released by Addis Ababa on 10 April for a “partial agreement” that would only cover the first stage of the process.
On 1 May, Egypt sent a memo to the UN Security Council blaming Ethiopia for trying to secure a deal without considering the interests of the countries on the River Nile downstream of the dam.
Speaking in Khartoum after this week’s meeting, Sudanese Irrigation Minister Yasser Abbas said, “It was agreed to continue daily meetings, except on Friday and Sunday, to reach consensus on the remaining points.”