By ELIAS MESERET
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — The leaders of Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan met in Addis Ababa Monday to discuss contentious issues related to the dam that Ethiopia is building on the Nile River.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi and Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir met on the sidelines of the African Union summit. The meeting comes after the Ethiopian and Egyptian leaders met less than two weeks ago in Cairo.
“The leaders have instructed their foreign ministers and other relevant ministries to deliberate on outstanding issues and report to the head of states within one month,” said the Ethiopian Foreign Ministry, adding the three leaders have agreed to meet again in a year. The leaders agreed to create a three-nation infrastructure fund to encourage cooperation.
Egypt fears the $4.8 billion dam could reduce its share of the Nile River waters while Ethiopia asserts it needs the dam for its development. Ethiopia is seeking to assure Cairo the dam on the border with Sudan will not significantly harm it. It appears the main issue is how quickly the reservoir behind the dam will be filled and if the filling will cause Egypt to get less Nile water.
The dam is designed to generate 6,400 megawatts, which is expected to more than double Ethiopia’s current production of 4,000 megawatts, is now 63 percent completed and this East African nation hopes to become an energy hub in Africa upon its completion.
While Ethiopia has said the dam is a “matter of life or death” for its people, Egypt has said water is a “matter of life or death” for its people.