Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan meet over disputed dam

(Xinhua) — Water ministers of Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt on Tuesday commenced
trilateral ministerial discussion in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa on the
filling of Ethiopia’s grand dam.

The Ethiopian Grand
Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) – 74,000 million cubic meters hydroelectric
dam under construction on the Blue Nile River that originates from Ethiopia and
shared among the three countries – has been at the center of recent discussions
among Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt. 

The three countries’
water ministers, during their latest meetings, are expected to discuss the
findings of the National Independent Research Group on filling operation of
GERD, according to Ethiopia’s state news agency ENA.

Ethiopia’s Water,
Irrigation and Electricity Minister Selishi Bekele said during the opening of
the ministerial meeting on Tuesday that the meeting is expected to deliberate
on pending issues that aimed at narrowing misunderstandings and gaps. 

“This meeting
gives us the opportunity to look at the study results and resolve issues and
move forward with other cooperative areas that the countries should develop
further,” Bekele added.

Bekele further vowed
that “the GERD will be filled without causing any significant harm to the
downstream countries based on the Declaration of Principles and recommendations
we have been underlying in the past.” 

Egyptian Water
Resource and Irrigation Minister, Mohamed Abdel Atty said the meeting is part
of the commitment of the three countries to send their queries and comments to
the National Independent Research Group. 

“I look for the
possible best scenario for filling that could have no significant harm on the
downstream countries and fulfill all the requirements for operating the
GERD,” he added.

Sudan’s new Water,
Irrigation and Electricity Minister Kedir Kesem Al Seid also stressed the
potentials of the summit to uplift the three countries ties, with due emphasis
given to Ethiopia’s grand dam.

“We came with
open mind to see if there are any differences in the National Independent
Research Group that we can close,” he said.  

The construction of
GERD, which will be regarded as Africa’s largest dam upon completion with a
total volume of 74,000 million cubic meters on the river has been a major issue
among the countries since its commencement in April, 2011 with a construction
cost of 80 billion Ethiopian birr (close to US$4.7 billion). 

While Ethiopia and
Sudan reached mutual consensus on the construction of the 6,450 MW hydro dam,
Egypt frequently expressed its concern that the dam would affect its share of
the river. 

The three countries
had formed a tripartite committee back in 2012 to create understanding and look
into the benefits and impacts the project would have on the three countries.


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