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Tripartite committee solves nearly all dam issues: Egyptian minister

Egypt's irrigation minister says that latest round of talks in the Sudanese capital have solved 85 percent of issues concerning Ethiopia's hydroelectric dam

Ahram Online, MENA, Wednesday 27 Aug 2014
Renaissance 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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Egypt's irrigation minister said on Wednesday that 85 percent of the issues concerning Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam have been solved after the last session of tripartite talks in Khartoum, Al-Ahram's Arabic news website reported.

In a statement to state news agency MENA, Hossam El-Moghazi also said that Egypt's approval of the dam is pending upon the results of international studies that all three countries agreed upon during the meetings.

"We haven't mentioned that Egypt has a final agreement on the dam construction, as all three countries have agreed to wait for the results of the international committee that we agreed upon," the minister explained to MENA.

He said that this committee should conclude its studies on the dam's impact over a six month period starting from September.

The minister further stressed that the Ethiopian side has agreed that all parties should abide by the results of the advisory committee.

Based on the studies of this committee, negative consequences resulting from the construction of the dam can be avoided through negotiations, he told MENA.

The first phase of the dam's construction should be completed by the end of 2014, according to MENA.

Late on Tuesday, the two-day round of talks between Ethiopian, Sudanese and Egyptian delegations ended with the three countries signing a memorandum that solved many issues concerning the dam.

Meanwhile, the Egyptian irrigation minister told Al-Ahram that Sudan has played a crucial role in this week's negotiations.

The Ethiopian minister for water resources and electricity, Alemayehu Tegenhas, stated that his country is ready for cooperation with Egypt and Sudan to enhance confidence between Nile Basin countries.

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

Ethiopia maintains that Egypt's water share will not be negatively affected by the successful completion of the project, set to be Africa's largest hydroelectric dam.
Meanwhile, Egypt and Sudan on Wednesday signed a joint convention that regulates the rules of water cooperation between the two countries.

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