There was camaraderie in Khartoum as the leaders of Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia celebrated a deal designed to ease fears that a controversial new dam could spark a regional conflict.
No details of the agreement were immediately released, but the leaders said it paved the way for further diplomatic cooperation.
The Grand Renaissance Dam is being built on a tributary of the Nile in Ethiopia. Egypt, which needs the river for farming, industry and drinking water, has sought assurances.
“You will develop and grow and I am with you, but be aware that in Egypt the people live only on the water that comes from this river,” said Egyptian President Abdul Fatah al-Sisi at the ceremony in Khartoum.
Ethiopia says it is happy to oblige.
“This construction will cause no significant harm to the people of our three countries and specifically to the people of Egypt,” the country’s Prime Minister Desalegn Hailemarian also told the audience.
Egypt says the agreement gives priority to downstream countries for electricity generated by the new construction.
Due for completion in 2017, the dam – which is being built by Italy’s Salini Impregilo SpA – will be the biggest in Africa.