Africa Egypt, Ethiopia leaders leave for Khartoum for Nile talks

Egypt, Ethiopia leaders leave for Khartoum for Nile talks

Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn
Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn
  (AA) – Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn on Monday left for Sudanese capital Khartoum for talks on Ethiopia’s mega-dam on the Nile River.

The two leaders, along with Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, are expected to sign a tripartite Nile deal whose provisions have so far been kept secret. Ethiopia’s multibillion-dollar dam project is said to have taken the center stage in the draft agreement.

A 12-strong technical committee comprised of representatives from Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt is already in Khartoum working out on the specifications of the deal.

The meeting between the three leaders would precede a state visit to Ethiopia by Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, his first ever to Ethiopia since he assumed office last year.

Al-Sisi and Desalegn are expected to give a press conference in Addis Ababa later Monday.

The Egyptian leader is also expected to address the Ethiopian parliament on Tuesday.

It is also expected that the technical committee will name the winner of four consulting firms bidding to undertake two studies concerning the Ethiopian dam as recommended in 2011 by an international panel of experts.

The two studies recommended are hydrological simulation model and trans-boundary economic, social and environmental impact assessment.

Ethiopia’s Grand Renaissance Dam has been at the center of a diplomatic row between Cairo and Addis Ababa for several months.

While Ethiopia views the dam as a prerequisite for economic development, Egypt fears the project will lead to a marked reduction in its supply of Nile water.

Relations, however, between the two countries have improved since al-Sisi and Desalegn met at an African summit in Equatorial Guinea last summer.

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