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Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt discuss divergences over dam construction

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By Tesfa-Alem Tekle

October 17, 2017 (ADDIS ABABA) – Water ministers of Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt Wednesday discussed in Addis Ababa, ways to address the outstanding issues after a study done by consultancy firms over the Renaissance Dam filling period.

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The planned Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam project (AP)

Egypt, actually, still fears that the power production of the High Aswan Dam be affected by the reduction of water volume in Lake Nasser when begins the filling of the GERD which is expected to hold 74 billion cubic metres of water.

Ethiopia sought to dissipate Egyptian concerns over its share of water by repeating they only want to produce power and they have no intention to use water or to divert to other projects pointing to its location at 17 km from the Sudanese border.

During the meeting, the ministers addressed reservations raised particularly from Cairo after the International Panel of Expert’s (IPoE) submitted its recommended studies to governments of the three countries.

The water ministers concluded their discussions by drafting guidelines to be provided to the consultancy firms on ways how to move forward on the pending issues.

Prior to the meeting, ministers of the three countries paid a visit to the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) which the horn of Africa’s nation is building along the Nile River near the Sudanese border.

"The visit to the dam project is in a bid to further boost the level of existing transparency and in turn uplift, the confidence among the three countries with regard to the Dam," said the office of Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia.

According to the Ethiopian Foreign Ministry, Addis Ababa’s leading role in the establishment of IpoE is stemmed from its desire to strengthen its relationship with the lower riparian countries and build trust among the countries.

The two studies will be conducted as per the agreements reached by the three countries with the two French firms as well as based on the Declaration of Principles signed by leaders of the three countries.

In 2011, Ethiopia launched the construction of grand Renaissance dam and hence Egypt has demanded the halt of the project arguing the hydro-power dam will eventually diminish its historic water shares from the Nile river.

Currently, the $ 4.8 billion dam project is 60 % complete.

(ST)

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