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Construction of Ethiopian Renaissance dam moving faster than dam talks: Egyptian irrigation minister

Ninth tripartite meeting between Egyptian, Ethiopian and Sudanese officials is taking place in Cairo

Ahram Online , Saturday 7 Nov 2015
Dam
File photo: A general view shows construction activity on the Grand Renaissance dam in Guba Woreda, Benishangul Gumuz region March 16, 2014. Egypt fears the $4.7 billion dam, that the Horn of Africa nation is building on the Nile, will reduce a water supply vital for its 84 million people, who mostly live in the Nile valley and delta. Picture taken March 16, 2014 (Photo: Reuters
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The construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam is going ahead at a faster pace than the talks on the dam between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan, Egyptian Minister of Irrigation Hossam Moghazi said on Saturday.

"There is an extreme delay in achieving the road map we agreed upon in August 2014, compared to the construction rates of the Grand Renaissance Dam," said Moghazi at the opening session of the ninth tripartite meeting in Cairo.

The irrigation ministers and the tripartite national committee set up to look at the dam are meeting to continue attempts to resolve the conflicts between the foreign consultancy firms conducting studies related to the dam.

In September, Dutch consultancy firm Deltares withdrew from the assessment of the dam, saying that the conditions imposed by the tripartite national committee -- which includes representatives from Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia, as well as the French consultancy firm BRL -- did not provide sufficient guarantees to Deltares that an independent high-quality study could be carried out.

The future of negotiations has remained unclear after several postponed meetings in October.

According to the irrigation ministry, Egypt is suffering from a water deficit of 20 billion cubic metres, which it compensates for through water recycling, an inadvisable process in the long term.

The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, now under construction on the Blue Nile River in Ethiopia and scheduled to be completed in 2017, will be Africa's largest hydroelectric power plant with a storage capacity of 74 billion cubic metres of water.
 

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