The contracts with two consulting firms to carry out technical studies into the impact of Ethiopia’s Grand Renaissance Dam will be signed on 5 and 6 September, Egypt’s foreign ministry said on Tuesday.
In a meeting with reporters, Ahmed Abu Zeid said that the irrigation ministers of Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia will attend the contract signing in Sudan.
The three countries agreed in 2015 that two French firms, Artelia and BRL, would carry out technical studies into the impact of the hydroelectric dam, set to be Africa’s largest when completed next year.
Negotiations have been ongoing since 2011, when Egypt raised concerns that the dam, located in the Ethiopian highlands on the Blue Nile, could impact its share of Nile water.
Since 2015, Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan, which is also downstream from the project, have been negotiating the terms of the two consultancy firms’ contracts and the purview of the technical studies they will prepare.
President El-Sisi has adopted a positive tone on the dam and on Ethiopian relations in general, stressing that Egyptians have nothing to fear from the project.
Speaking to Egyptian media this week, he said that the negotiations on the technical studies were progressing in a way that is “reassuring to all.”
“The Nile water will continue to flow to Egypt and to everyone else,” he said. “Egypt has started a new era in developing its relations with African countries, especially Nile Basin countries.”
In his Tuesday statement, Abu Zeid said that Egyptian-Ethiopian relations are witnessing a new phase based on common interests, avoiding any damage to any party, as well as the development of strategic relations between Egypt and Sudan, Ethiopia.
A trilateral Declaration of Principles, signed by all three states last year, gives priority to downstream countries for electricity generated by the dam and providing compensation for any damages caused.