January 3, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - The Egyptian government has proposed to hold a meeting among Sudan, Ethiopia and Egypt Foreign Ministers to complete discussions on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) ahead of the African Union summit this month.
- 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 28th African summit will be held in Addis Ababa from 22 to 31 January.
According to the Turkish news agency Anadolu, Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry made the proposal during a telephone conversation with his Ethiopian counterpart Tedros Adhanom on Tuesday.
The Egyptian Foreign Ministry said the meeting is intended to provide the necessary political support for the technical talks pertaining to the GERD.
In March 2015, 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 engineering consultancy 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 Septmebr, the three countries signed the final contracts for the consultation offices appointed to conduct technical studies.
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.