Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan’s irrigation ministers met Monday in Cairo for the second round of negotiations aimed at finding a solution to a dispute over a multibillion-dollar dam that the Ethiopian government is currently building on the Nile.
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The trilateral meeting expected to last two days comes nearly a month after the three sides decided to work towards resolving the issue as part of an accord reached in a United States-brokered meeting in November, with the mediation of the U.S. administration officials and the World Bank.
Negotiations concerning the rules that would regulate the dam's filling and operations had failed at various former occasions, thus necessitating foreign mediation.
Addis Ababa argues the project, dubbed the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), will be of crucial help to its economic development and will generate more than 6,000 megawatts of much-needed electricity.
Cairo, however, fears that the dam located near the border with Sudan and approximately 70 percent complete, will restrain the flow of the major river and limit its share of water.
Egypt wants Ethiopia to release a minimum of 40 billion cubic meters of water from GERD annually. It is also demanding for the accompanying reservoir to be filled over a longer period than the four or so years envisaged by Ethiopia, in order to ensure water supplies remain sufficient in the event of droughts.
Experts are concerned that the three countries could be drawn into a military conflict if the dispute is not resolved before the dam starts operating.
Sudan is set to host the next round of the talks on the dam project.