Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan sign deal over Nile dam

Leaders sign agreement over Nile water resources

Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan have signed an initial agreement over Nile water resources as Addis Ababa continues with its $6 billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.

The tentative deal was signed by Egyptian president Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, Sudanese president Omar Bashir and Ethiopian prime minister Hailemariam Desalegn following a high-level meeting in the Sudanese capital Khartoum on 23 March.

The deal outlines principles by which all three nations agree to share the water from the Nile, which flows through the three countries, and to resolve any potential disputes by peaceful means.

Speaking on 24 March during his official visit to Addis Ababa, al-Sisi said that Ethiopia and Egypt are now "on the right path to cooperation" while Desalegn said he will hold direct talks about the dam with al-Sisi at least once a year.

Until now Ethiopia's massive hydroelectric project has been a source of concern for Egyptians who rely on the Nile for their agriculture and almost all of their drinking water.

Egypt has previously voiced fears that the dam would reduce its share of the Nile, which provides almost all of the desert nation's water needs. Ethiopia says the dam will be used mainly for energy-generation purposes and will help alleviate some of its electricity shortages as part of its national development plans.

The agreement signed in Khartoum is the result of months of extensive talks between the three countries.