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Second day of Tripartite Renaissance Dam meeting starts amid 'hopes for resolution'

Ministers said first day of negotiations were intense and showed all parties are keen on reaching a deal

Ahram Online , Monday 28 Dec 2015
Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam (Reuters)
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The second day of the tripartite meeting between irrigation and foreign ministers from Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia has commenced on Monday in Khartoum, with the aim of resolving disagreements over Ethiopia’s Grand Renaissance Dam.

Cairo has repeatedly expressed concerns that filling and operating the dam, which is being built on the Blue Nile, will reduce the supply of Nile water that reaches downstream Egypt. Ethiopia has rejected these claims.

On the first day of talks, Egypt’s Foreign Affairs Minister Sameh Shoukry met with Sudan’s President Omar Bashir, where the duo discussed the cooperation between the two countries.

Shoukry, according to a foreign affairs statement, stressed to Bashir the importance of abiding by the tripartite committee’s March declaration of principles to ensure mutual trust between the three parties and achieve shared gains.

Meanwhile, the Sudanese Foreign Affairs Minister Ibrahim Ghandour said the first day of talks went well and that the three parties were adamant on reaching a deal, Egypt’s state news agency MENA reported.

Ghandour added that the discussion included talks of the possible firms to conduct the studies on the impact of the dam.

“We agreed on everything we discussed, and we are not done with the discussion,” Ghandour added.

The last round of meetings, attended by the three countries' foreign ministers for the first time. were held in Khartoum two weeks ago to overcome disagreements about the firm that will conduct impact studies of the dam, 

After the initial meeting, Egyptian Prime Minister Sherif Ismail said the negotiations were “difficult.”

French film BRL and Dutch firm Deltares were chosen in April by the three countries, but the Dutch firm which was assigned 30 percent of the work resigned, saying the conditions imposed by the tripartite committee and BRL did not guarantee independent and good quality studies.

Ethiopia said several times that the dam solely aims to produce electricity, amidst fears that the Nile water share of Egypt will be reduced.

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