Ethiopia’s prime minister Abiy Ahmed confirmed during his visit to Egypt's president, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, that he will protect all Egypt’s interests in the Nile waters.
Egypt’s worries over the Nile, on which it depends for agriculture, tourism and industry, have become more acute as the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance dam (GERD) nears completion. The construction of the dam has now reached such an advanced stage that flooding the land behind the dam could begin soon.
Egypt is anxious that diverting the water of Nile too quickly to fill the dam basin will leave Egypt’s own Aswan dam, and hence the rest of the country, with a water shortage.
Not many details of the talks have emerged between the two statesmen other than a agreement to set up a joint fund for the development of energy infrastructure, but the friendly tone of the meeting has broken several years of acrimonious deadlock.
In mid-May a new three-country committee of experts and ministers from Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt was set up to look at water management issues and other infrastructure concerns raised by the huge dam. The committee will report every six months and the first meeting is scheduled to be held in Egypt in June.