What to expect from the Ethiopian PM’s visit to Egypt?
(egypttoday) —-CAIRO – 4 December 2017: Renaissance Dam discussions are expected to escalate between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan, especially after failure to reach a solution during the last meeting of the Tripartite National Committee on the Renaissance Dam (TNCRD), and the expected visit from the Ethiopian Prime Minister, Haili Miriam Desaline, to Cairo this month.
Desaline gave a speech to the Egyptian parliament on November 28, during his short visit to Cairo. The visit which includes holding several meetings and giving speeches, expected to push the discussions into more serious steps according to Parliamentarian Hatem Bashat’s statement to Egypt Today, on Monday.
“Egypt has several solutions and seniors can be used during the coming period, especially if the negations at this level didn’t work,” Bashat said. He added, “We can ask other African friendly countries to interfere in trying to solve the crises, we can go to the African union or even to the pan-African parliament.”
Bashat added that Desaline demanded the presence of the African Affairs Committee Members during his visit to Parliament. He also ruled out resorting to a military solution to solve the dispute.
Parliamentarian Mai Mahmud said that Desaline’s visit comes as a reassuring step to Egyptians. “We are waiting to listen to him and to know his country’s explanation for the failure of the latest talks,” she added.
Meanwhile, Mahmud affirmed that Egypt is determined to preserve its right to its share of Nile waters, referring to several international agreements guaranteeing those rights.
On November 12, the last meeting of the TNCRD, hosted in Cairo, concluded without reaching an agreement regarding the guidelines suggested by a study on the dam’s potential effects on the Nile Basin States, according to Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources Mohamed Abdel-Aati.
He issued a statement shortly after the meeting explaining that although Egypt agrees with the study’s guidelines, the other two parties of the TNCRD did not express consensus and called for amendments.
A report based on the study presents these guidelines by which Ethiopia can fill its reservoir without harming the water flow into Egypt and Sudan. The $4 billion dam is being constructed on the Blue Nile, in Ethiopia with a capacity of 74 billion cubic meters and is expected to generate up to 6,000 megawatts of power.
Since May 2011, Cairo has voiced its concern over how the dam could reduce the country’s annual share of more than 56 billion cubic meters of Nile water. Egypt’s average water per-capita is expected to drop from 663 cubic meters per year to 582 cubic meters by 2025 because of the construction of the dam, according to the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS). Addis Ababa, however, claimed that the dam is necessary for Ethiopia’s development and will not harm downstream countries.
President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi signed a Tripartite National Committee joint cooperation agreement in Khartoum on March 23, 2015, between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia. In December 2015, Sisi addressed the public, saying that there is no reason to worry about the dam and that the matter would be resolved. The three countries held 14 rounds of consultation to resolve the disputes over the Renaissance Dam but have not reached a solution yet.