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Sudan regrets Egypt’s FM statements over Ethiopian dam

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry (Reuters photo)

May 9, 2018 (KHARTOUM) The Sudanese government has regretted statements attributed to the Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukry blaming the failure of recent meeting over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on Sudan and Ethiopia.

The three countries held a technical meeting including irrigation ministers and experts in Addis Ababa on 5 May to discuss their difference over a report by French consulting firms over the GERD impact on the water shares of the downstream countries.

On Monday, Shoukry said the meeting failed to reach an agreement over the technical report because Ethiopia and Sudan maintain their rejection of the report.

In a press release on Wednesday, Sudan’s Ministry of Water Resources, Irrigation and Electricity said the only objective of Addis Ababa meeting was to agree on a methodology to raise inquiries to the consultant on his introductory report.

It pointed out that the meeting was concluded in a positive atmosphere after Sudan has submitted an integrated proposal to reach an agreement, saying the three countries accepted to consider the proposal and respond within one week on whether or not to adopt it as means to overcome the deadlock.

“Accordingly, the three countries agreed to hold a meeting for the irrigation ministers and the technical committee in Addis Ababa within a week to complete the methodology of raising questions to the consultant and then presenting the results to the extended meeting, which brings together the irrigation ministers, foreign ministers and heads of intelligence from the three countries” read the press release

The press release stressed Sudan’s firm position that efforts should be made to complete the agreed impact studies, wondering about the role Khartoum has played in the failure of the recent meeting.

According to the press release, Sudan renewed awareness about its clear position on the GERD, underscoring “deep faith that informed scientific understanding and sincere cooperation and respect for others is the only way to overcome all challenges” pertaining to the Ethiopian dam.

Sudan warned that casting doubts on the positions would only undermine trust and deepen differences among the peoples of the three countries.

It is noteworthy that the introductory report determines the steps that would be undertaken by the consultants to complete the studies on the ecological, social and economic impact of the dam as well as the options for filling and operating the dam lake.

In September 2016, 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.

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.

(ST)