January 5, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The water ministers in Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia have indefinitely suspended the third round of meetings on the implementation of the recommendations of the International Committee of Experts on the Ethiopian Grand Renaissance Dam (EGRD), an official in Khartoum said on Sunday.
- Egypt fears that Ethiopia’s $4.6 billion hydropower plant on the Blue Nile will diminish its share of water resources (Photo: Reuters/Amr Abdallah Dalsh)
At a press conference on Sunday, the Sudanese minister of water resources and electricity, Moatez Moussa, said that the ministers agreed to hold a fourth round of consultations but at a time and place to be determined later after they return home and consult with their governments.
Moussa noted that the third round of talks was marked by the spirit of cooperation, understanding, positivity and responsibility.
The minister stressed the commitment of the ministers of the three countries to continue cooperation on development of east basin countries.
He explained that Sudan is not mediating between Egypt and Ethiopia, but an original member of the East basin countries.
Moussa said that the issues that were raised are serious and require more scrutiny adding that the goal of the last three rounds of meetings is to implement the recommendations of the International Committee of Experts.
Egypt fears that the $4.6 billion hydropower plant, which Ethiopia is building on the Blue Nile, will diminish its share of the river’s water, arguing its historic water rights must be maintained.
Ethiopia is the source of around 85% of the Nile’s water, mainly through rainfall in its highlands. Over 90% of Egyptians rely on water from the Nile’s flows.
In June, a panel of international experts who were tasked by the three countries to study the impacts of the Ethiopian dam on lower riparian countries, including Sudan and Egypt, found that the dam project will not cause significant harm to either country.
Cairo remains unconvinced and has sought further studies and consultation with Khartoum and Addis Ababa.
Sudan, however, has accepted the final findings and offered to send experts and technicians to help in the dam’s construction, a move welcomed by Ethiopia.