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Tripartite committee resumes meetings over Ethiopian Dam

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The Grand Renaissance Dam is under construction on the Blue Nile River in Ethiopia. (Photo AFP/William Lloyd-George)
September 25, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - The tripartite committee including water ministers of Sudan, Ethiopia and Egypt on Tuesday has kicked off a new round of talks on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) in Addis Ababa.

The meeting would discuss the outcome of the joint technical team among the three countries besides the joint studies agreed under the tripartite experts’ committee.

The Sudanese delegation was headed by the Minister of Water Resources, Irrigation and Electricity Khidir Gasm al-Sid as the Egyptian side was headed by the Minister of Water and Irrigation, Mohamed Abdel-Ati. The Ethiopian side was headed by the Minister of Water, Irrigation and Electricity, Sileshi Bekele.

Egypt fears that its water share would be drawn down by the filling of the GERD which is expected to hold 74 billion cubic metres of water and generate electrical power of up to 6,000 megawatts.

In 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 May, the three countries agreed to set up a joint technical team - 5 members from each country- to study the filling of the GERD reservoir and operating the dam. Egypt withdrew its proposal to resort to the World Bank on the matter.

The technical team held four meetings to discuss options and strategies for filling the GERD.

(ST)

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