After a month’s delay due to a disagreement between Cairo and Addis Ababa over the Ethiopian Grand Renaissance Dam (EGRD), Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn will arrive in Cairo on Sunday in an official four-day visit, according to the Ethiopian Ambassador to Cairo, Taye Atske-Selassie, on Saturday.
Desalegn is slated to be at the head of a high-level delegation, including Foreign Minister Workneh Gebeyehu and Ethiopian Ambassador to Cairo Taye Atske-Selassie and is also expected to meet with President Abdel Fatah El-Sisi and deliver a speech before the House of Representatives.
The Renaissance Dam issue will be on top of the discussions between Sisi and the Ethiopian prime minister. The prime minister is expected to state his country’s stance regarding the proposal Egypt made in December to have the World Bank act as a neutral mediator in the tripartite talks concerning the technical studies of Ethiopia’s grand dam.
In December, Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry visited Ethiopia to meet with his Ethiopian counterpart in a bid to break the current stalemate affecting the negotiations concerning the establishment of the Renaissance Dam.
On a similar note, Ethiopian Minister of Water and Irrigation Dr. Salehi Baqal revealed on Friday while reviewing the ministry’s performance before the Ethiopian Parliament that the negotiations on the Grand Dam are based on a notion of fair distribution of water, adding that 63.87 percent of its construction works were complete.
Egypt has previously announced its approval of the report prepared by PRL Consulting on the guidelines that should be followed when conducting studies on the effects of the dam; however, Ethiopia and Sudan rejected the findings of the report, crippling the continuation of the studies necessary for the establishment of the dam.
Since May 2011, Cairo has voiced its concern over how the dam can 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, 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.