Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia sign dam accord
The heads of state of Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia Monday signed a framework agreement in Khartoum to resolve their differences over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), formerly known as the Millennium Dam.
The most important points of the agreement are related to the storage capacity and filling period of the dam, which have raised concerns on the Egyptian side.
The three presidents declared they would abide by the document and pledged to move forward with negotiations over the details of the agreement. The document, according to sources, had gone through several amendments after both Egyptian and Ethiopian reservations.
The agreement calls for not altering Egypt and Sudan's quotas of the Nile's water, improving economic cooperation among the three countries, and establishing a permanent tripartite mechanism to monitor the Renaissance Dam.
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Egyptian President Abdel Fatah el-Sisi said in a speech that Egypt was committed to supporting the technical committee studying the dam to reach an agreement over how the dam is filled and operated in a way that guarantees the economic interests of Ethiopia yet without hurting Egyptian and Sudanese interests. Sisi also stressed the importance of having the politicial will to implement the agreement.
The Egyptian leader said the three states were determined to continue to negotiate and resolve differences, and to prevent any obstacles from reversing the progress achieved and taking the three nations back to square one, as he said.
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir said the three states had "come a long way in laying the foundations for cooperation and promoting confidence among the three peoples, which will have a positive impact on security and economic cooperation".
Bashir stressed the need to create a suitable climate for cooperation, and called for harmony between national interests and mutual regional interests, saying his country was determined to prevent anything from undermining the interests of the three states and to push for cooperation and mutual benefit.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said the framework agreement was the beginning of a new era of cooperation between the three countries, and that it would strengthen mutual trust among them.
A number of Arab and African delegations, including the vice president of South Sudan, the Ugandan prime minister, a UAE minister, and the minister of water and energy of Rwanda, were present at the signing ceremony, as well as representatives from the World Bank and the Nile Basin Initiative.
This is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.