August 27, 2016 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Ibrahim Ghandour has said differences that existed among Sudan, Ethiopia and Egypt on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) have completely been settled.
- The Grand Renaissance Dam is under construction on the Blue Nile River in Ethiopia. (Photo AFP/William Lloyd-George)
The Dubai-based Al Bayan newspaper reported on Saturday that Ghandour said relations among the three nations have moved into a new phase, saying they are now considering proposals developed by Egypt in this regard.
Ghandour underscored the three countries have overcome the differences on the GERD, saying the international consultants would achieve solutions pertaining to the technical aspects of the project.
He pointed the three countries are currently developing a strategic cooperation agreement covering political, security and economic issues that serve the interests of their peoples and the region.
The Sudanese top diplomat pointed that leaders of three nations would meet soon to discuss the latest developments pertaining to the GERD, saying they would also discuss ways to enhance tripartite cooperation and to establish a comprehensive development fund.
Last year, Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia signed a declaration of principles on the dam project that tacitly approves the dam construction but calls for technical studies aimed at safeguarding the water quotas of the three riparian states.
On September 22, 2014, a tripartite committee from the three countries proposed the conduction of two additional studies on the dam project, the first one on the effect of the dam on the water quota of Sudan and Egypt and the second one to examine the dam’s ecological, economic and social impacts of the dam on Sudan and Egypt.
The French Artelia and BRL groups have been selected to undertake the dam impact studies. The U.K.-based law firm Corbett & Co was selected to manage the legal affairs of the tripartite committee.
Last month, Egyptian Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Mohamed Abdel Ati said the final contracts on the impact studies of the GERD would be signed within a few days. However, the three nations are yet to sign the contracts.
The multi-billion dollar dam is being constructed on the Blue Nile, about 20 kilometres 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 is concerned that the dam could reduce its quota of 55.5 billion cubic meters of the Nile water, while the Ethiopian side maintains that the dam is primarily built to produce electricity and will not harm Sudan and Egypt.
Last May, Ethiopia’s Minister of Information and Communication Getachew Reda said the GERD is almost 70% complete.