CAIRO, Jan. 31 (Xinhua) -- Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia reached an agreement on Friday over the disputed Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on the Nile River, according to the Egyptian foreign ministry.
In a statement, the ministry said the foreign ministers and water resources ministers of the three countries have issued a joint communique of reaching a deal on the controversial dam that Ethiopia is building on the Nile River.
According to the statement, the three countries reached a consensus on a timetable and a plan for filling the dam, adding that they have also agreed on procedures related to dealing with droughts, protracted droughts and scarce years during filling the dam.
The ministers, the statement said, agreed to complete negotiations and reach an agreement on the mechanism of operating the GERD during normal hydrological conditions, the coordination mechanism to monitor and follow up the implementation of the agreement, the exchange of data and information, and the dispute settlement mechanism.
They also agreed on complete studies on safety, environmental and social impacts of the GERD.
The tripartite ministerial meetings, which are hosted and sponsored by the United States, kicked on Jan. 28.
Meanwhile, the Egyptian foreign ministry revealed that the ministers of the three countries assigned the technical and legal committees to continue meetings in Washington to finalize the agreement.
The ministry noted that the ministers of foreign affairs and water resources of the three countries will meet again in Washington on Feb. 12, to approve the final version of the agreement in preparation for signing it at the end of February.
Upstream Nile Basin country Ethiopia started building its grand hydropower dam in 2011 on the Blue Nile, while Egypt, a downstream country, is concerned that the dam might affect its 55.5-billion-cubic-meter annual share of Nile water.
Egypt's fellow downstream country Sudan eyes future benefits from the GERD construction despite Egypt's concerns. The GERD is expected to produce over 6,000 megawatts of electricity and become Africa's largest hydropower dam upon completion.
Filling the reservoir, with a total capacity of 74 billion cubic meters, may take several years. While Ethiopia wants to fill it in five to six years, Egypt seeks to prolong the period to avoid the possibility of a water shortage.