Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan to sign agreement on dam by end of February

Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan will sign a final agreement by the end of February on a disputed dam built by Ethiopia, the three nations said in a joint statement today.

For years, a diplomatic crisis has raged between the countries because of Ethiopia’s dam on the Blue Nile, which Cairo fears will reduce its supply of water.

The US Treasury Department sponsored a meeting of ministers from the three countries in Washington lasting several days. A few points are still outstanding. The final agreement will be signed in late February, it said.

The points agreed on Friday also provide mechanisms for how to fill the dam during periods of drought, and how to operate the power plant in the long term during droughts, a press release said.

They also discussed and agreed to finalize a mechanism for the annual and long-term operation of the dam, a coordination mechanism, and provisions for dispute resolution and information sharing.

The ministers also agreed to address dam safety and pending studies on the environmental and social impacts of the GERD.

Ethiopia began building the 4.8-billion-dollar hydroelectric dam in 2010, as part of a plan expand its power exports.

Egypt relies almost exclusively on the Nile for farming, industry and domestic water use and fears that the dam will reduce its water supply. Ethiopia says Egypt’s worries are baseless.

Sudan now sees some advantages for itself in the dam. Around two thirds of the construction is complete.