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Sudan hosts seventh meeting of tripartite committee on Ethiopia’s dam

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July 18, 2015 (KHARTOUM) – The 7th meeting of the tripartite technical committee on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) will take place next week in Khartoum with the participation of water resources ministers in Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia to review the proposals submitted by firms that will conduct the technical evaluation on the dam.

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Egyptian president Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi (L), Sudanese president Omer al-Bashir (C) and Ethiopian prime minister Hailemariam Desalegn shake hands during a meeting in Khartoum on 23 March 2015 on the planned Grand Renaissance dam (Photo: Ashraf Shazly/AFP)

The three countries had previously formed a committee to select a consultancy firm to assess the impact of GERD on Sudan and Egypt. Four consultancy firms from France, Australia and Netherlands had been short-listed initially and invited to submit their proposals.

The multi-billion dollar dam is being constructed on the Blue Nile, about 20 kilometers from the Sudanese border, and has a capacity of 74 billion cubic meters, and is expected to generate electrical power of up to 6,000 megawatts.

Egypt fears the dam will negatively affect its traditional share of water from the Nile, its only source of water which has been determined by a colonial-era water-sharing treaty.

But Ethiopia insists that this will not occur and asserts that the project is indispensable to its own national development and the economic welfare of its burgeoning population.

The Khartoum meeting will evaluate the technical and financial offers submitted by two French and Dutch companies that were selected to conduct studies on the social, financial and hydraulic impact of the dam on the three countries.

International experts in the field of dam safety, water resources and environment from Germany, France, Britain and South Africa along with representatives from the three countries had submitted recommendations in May 2013 after a year and a half of field visits to the dam and scrutinizing all design documents and dam studies.

But Egypt rejected the report and other studies submitted by the Ethiopian side.A year ago it also issued a report claiming that the dam could shrink Egypt’s share of Nile water by 12 billion cubic meters

Last March, the leaders of Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia signed a declaration of principles on GERD in Khartoum in preparation for negotiations on the details of the giant dam.

(ST)

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