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Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt diverge over GERD’s impact

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The Grand Renaissance Dam is under construction on the Blue Nile River in Ethiopia. (Photo AFP/William Lloyd-George)

November 19, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - Khartoum disclosed on Sunday that new differences have emerged with Egypt over the findings of a consultative report related to the impact of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

The Sudanese Minister of Water Resources, Irrigation and Electricity Mutaz Musa made his remarks after the failure of a meeting with his Egyptian and Ethiopian counterparts to discuss the conclusions of a report on the GERD’s impacts prepared by French firms BRL and Artelia.

"Sudan and Ethiopia have reservations on some main points in the preliminary consultative report over the economic, social and environmental impact of the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam," Musa told reporters in Khartoum.

"At the top of these points there is the baseline data from which any study of the dam’s operationalization starts," he further said pointing that Egypt disagreed with them and made expressed its reservation.

Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia signed a declaration of principles on the dam project that approves the dam’s construction but calls for technical studies to safeguarding the water quotas of the three riparian states.

On 22 September 2014, experts from the three countries agreed to carry out two 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 on Sudan and Egypt.

Musa said Sudan and Ethiopia have submitted "constructive and objective proposals", based on the existing agreements, and proposed to demand the consultants to provide further clarifications in order to push forward the negotiations, but Egypt also rejected.

After Ethiopian reassurances that Egypt’s share of the Blue Nile water will not be affected during and after the filling period, Egypt continues to express fears that the power production of the High Aswan Dam would be affected by the reduction of water volume in Lake Nasser when begins the filling of the GERD.

The Italian Salini Construction Private has actually completed 70% of the Ethiopia am which is located at 30 km from the border with Sudan. The GERD is expected to hold 74 billion cubic metres of water.

The minister reiterated Sudan’s its commitment to the scientific means to resolve all the pending issues. Also, he renewed his country’s adherence to the Khartoum Agreement on the principles of bridging the Ethiopian Renaissance and the summit of the heads of the three countries in March 2015.

(ST)

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