The Tripartite meeting of Water Ministers of Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia is underway in Cairo (September 15, 2019).
The meeting is a continuation of the tripartite water ministers meeting held in September 2018 and February 2019 in Addis Ababa regarding the filling of and release of water from the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.
According to Ethiopian foreign ministry, Dr Sileshi Bekele, the Minister of Water, Irrigation, and Energy of Ethiopia underscored the efforts of Ethiopia for an engagement based on good faith and a sincere interest for cooperation. The Minister emphasized the need to reinforce the existing platforms of cooperation to reach an understanding that serves the equal rights of the three countries.As to the objectives of the meeting, the Minister outlined the purpose of the meeting to be consideration of the report of the Scientists Group of the three countries in order to set a direction for the way forward. In relation, the Minister reiterated the need to follow the existing mechanisms of trilateral cooperation and called for all propositions on outstanding matters to be presented within the framework of these mechanisms.
The Minister stated the water of the Nile as the main water resource of Ethiopia is a matter of survival for the country. Accordingly, Ethiopia will continue to follow a cooperative approach that ensures its right and protects the interest of neighboring populations. The Minister indicated the trilateral dialogue between Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt on the GERD will enhance the right of all Nile Riparian States to utilize the shared water resource. In concluding his remarks, the Minister stated the trilateral engagements since the commencement of the construction of the GERD are successful and created an opportunity to bridge differences between the three countries.
The Minister of Water and Irrigation of the Arab Republic of Egypt, Dr. Mohammed Abdel Aty after welcoming the delegations of Sudan and Ethiopia expressed his hope for the engagement concerning the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam to be an example for other similar cooperation. The Minister states the discussions on filling and release of water from the GERD shall be based on a win-win approach that equally benefits the three countries. The Minister also stated the need to heed new approaches as the eight years engagement on the GERD is not giving rise to the expected outcomes.
The Water and Irrigation Minister of the Sudan, Professor Yasir Mohammed Abbas thanked his Ethiopian and Egyptian colleague ministers for their welcoming remarks and stated his hoe that his previous engagements on matters related to the Nile and other transboundary water resource management will allow him contribute constructively to the trilateral discussion on the GERD.
The Minister also stated, compared to other international cooperation on matters of transboundary waters, the trilateral cooperation between Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt has scored a remarkable achievement in just a short period of time. The Minister expressed his country’s commitment to do its part for the continuation of the effective trilateral dialogue that is based on scientific considerations and serves the interest of the three countries.