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Egypt asks resumption of tripartite talks over Nile dam

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By Tesfa-Alem Tekle

July 19, 2014 (ADDIS ABABA) – Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt will resume tripartite negotiations over the construction of Ethiopia’s controversial hydro power plant project known as the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

The Ethiopian foreign ministry said Cairo has this week officially asked the resumption of the tripartite talks which had been suspended in January after they failed to reach an agreement over key points of contention.

Egypt argues the Power plant project, which Ethiopia is building along the Nile River near the Sudanese border, would eventually diminish its water share.

Cairo further says the project, which is the largest along the Nile river would reduce the amount of electricity generated by the Aswan Dam as well as would affect its agricultural production.

Cairo officially asked the resumption of the talks after Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and newly elected Egyptian president Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi hold meeting in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea on the sidelines of the African Union summit.

Government sources said the new round of talks between the three countries would resume on the basis of the seven point agreed between Desalegn and Al-Sisi.

“One of the areas to be discussed will be the resumption of the activities of the tripartite technical committee tasked with the implementation of the recommendation of the International Panel of Experts (IPoE)” said ministry of foreign affairs.

Fekahmed Negash, Director of Boundary & Trans-boundary River Affairs stated that the committee will “pick up where it left off to discuss the formation of a committee for conducting two proposed studies.”

He said the "committee will comprise members drawn from all the three countries who will select contractors to conduct the two studies."

The joint technical committee will be tasked to in further studying possible impacts on the implementation of recommendations made by the panel.

The study involves a hydrology simulation model and a trans-boundary social, economic and environmental Impact assessment.

The International panel of experts in their final report said Ethiopia’s dam project would not result in any significant harm to the two downstream countries, Sudan and Egypt.

(ST)

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