Sudan, Egypt, Ethiopia dam talks 'successful'

Water ministers from Addis Ababa, Cairo and Khartoum on Monday "successfully" held talks on an Ethiopian dam project, Sudan's minister said, after Egypt's objections delayed formation of a committee to implement expert advice.

"We have addressed a significant part of the issues on the follow-up of the implementation of the recommendations of the international panel of experts," Sudan's Water Resources and Electricity Minister, Muattaz Musa Abdallah Salim, said in a brief statement to reporters after the talks which lasted several hours.

At a meeting in Khartoum last month, ministers from the three nations failed to agree on the composition of the committee which would implement expert recommendations about Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam, Sudan's Foreign Minister Ali Karti said earlier.

The experts' report has not been made public, but Ethiopia has said it confirms that the impact on water levels is minimal.

Cairo had sought more studies about the dam's impact on its water supply, which is almost entirely dependent on the Nile.

Egypt wanted international representatives on the committee but Ethiopia preferred national delegates, Karti said after the ministers' first meeting in early November.

"We the ministers... have concluded the second meeting successfully," Salim said.

Asked whether that meant the differences over the committee had been resolved, Ethiopian minister Alemayehu Tegenu told AFP: "Almost, yes."

Sudan's minister Salim said "the remaining issues" would be addressed in Khartoum during talks from January 4-5.

Ethiopia began diverting the Blue Nile in May to build the 6,000 MW dam which will be Africa's largest when completed in 2017.