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Renaissance Dam won't harm the Egyptian people: Ethiopian water minister

Egypt has repeatedly raised concerns that Ethiopia's $4.2 billion dam will negatively affect its Nile water share

Ahram Online , Thursday 12 Nov 2015
Dam
A general view shows construction activity on the Grand Renaissance dam in Guba Woreda, Benishangul Gumuz region March 16, 2014 (Photo: Reuters)
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Ethiopia will abide by the results of technical studies on the Grand Renaissance Dam, the country's new water minister told Al-Ahram newspaper on Thursday.

Motuma Mekasa, the minister of water and energy, said Ethiopia is hoping for a final agreement on the under-construction dam after the current round of tripartite negotiations and studies are completed, and is ready to work with Sudan and Egypt to that end.

The Ethiopian minister indicated his country would not be opposed to joining a shared mechanism with Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan that would manage the Nile's water resources and projects. 

Addressing Egyptians who may have concerns about the dam's impact on Egypt's water supply, Mekasa said that the dam won't harm the Egyptian people, and that his country would not build a dam that harms the people of any nation.

Egypt has repeatedly expressed concerns that Ethiopia's $4.2 billion dam on the Blue Nile, the construction of which is said to be at least 40 percent complete and is set to finish in 2017, would negatively affect its share of the Nile water.

"The ninth tripartite meeting held in Cairo early November witnessed discussion between the three countries on mechanisms of how the Dutch and French consultancy firms will be working together to fulfill their studies on the dam," Mekasa told Al-Ahram.

In March 2015, Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia signed a declaration of principles on the dam, agreeing to safeguard the interests of all three countries. Two foreign consultancy firms, one Dutch and one French, have been chosen to carry out reports assessing the dam's negative effects on Egypt and Sudan, if any.

"Since the date of signing the principal of declaration we have all been coordinating together; however the two consultancy firms have reached a deadlock so we were trying to find a new mechanism for both firms in our last meeting in Cairo," explained the new Ethiopian minister.

A tenth round of talks is scheduled to take place from 21-23 November in Khartoum. According to Mekasa all conflicts should be resolved in this round.
The dam, 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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