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Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan agree on impact studies on Nile dam

Studies will be carried out within the next six months to assess the impact of Ethiopia's hydroelectric dam on neighbouring countries

MENA, Ahram Online, Tuesday 26 Aug 2014
Ethiopian Dam
Labourers work at 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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Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan's irrigation ministers signed an agreement to conduct two studies to gauge the effects of Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam on its neighbouring countries, state-run news agency MENA reported on Tuesday.

The dam has been a source of concern for the Egyptian government since May 2013, when images of its construction stirred public anxiety about the possible impact on Egypt's potable water supply.

A joint statement by the ministers after a two-day meeting in Khartoum revealed that the studies were suggested by the committee of international experts tasked to revise the dam's impact.

An international consulting company will conduct the two studies.

A "national expert committee" will be formed to agree on the framework of conducting the studies. The committee, comprised of four experts from each of the three countries, has been given a six-month deadline starting from 1 September to formulate a timeframe to carry out the reports.

Ethiopia's irrigation minister also invited his Egyptian and Sudanese counterparts to visit the construction site of the dam in the near future.

Egypt's Irrigation Minister Hossam El-Moghazi said that Ethiopia agreed to be bound by the findings of the consultancy company.

When asked about the declarations of his Ethiopian counterpart that the dam's construction will go ahead as planned, El-Moghazi told reporters that Ethiopia will finish the first phase as scheduled by September 2015 and will then take into consideration the findings of the consultancy agency.

El-Moghazi also revealed that the meeting didn't touch on technical details such as the dimensions or length of the dam needed to fill its reservoir as these items will be the responsibility of the committee.

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