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Thursday, 21 November 2019

Renaissance dam meetings extended to third day amid 'hopes of positive results'

The talks were scheduled for two days but were prolonged in an attempt to reach an agreement between Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan

Ahram Online , Tuesday 29 Dec 2015
Sameh Shoukry
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry along with Irrigation minister Hossam Moghazi in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum in December 2015 (Photo: Al-Ahram)
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Talks between the foreign and irrigation ministers of Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan on the controversial Ethiopian Renaissance dam were extended for a third day in an attempt to reach a consensus that satisfies all parties, MENA reported.

The ministers, who were meeting in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum for a two-day meeting originally scheduled for 27-28 December, decided to stay one more day in an attempt to reach an agreement.

Sudanese Foreign Minister Ibrahim Al-Ghandour said that the ministers have reached agreements on many points, yet they needed one more day of talks to discuss issues that are still unresolved concerning the dam and its effect on the downstream countries of Egypt and Sudan.

Ghandour also said that a final statement will be issued by the end of the talks on Tuesday.

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.

This marks the second meeting between the irrigation and the foreign ministers in Khartoum, as they met earlier in December in a round of talks they described as the "first of its kind" for the Renaissance Dam.

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.

French firm 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.

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.

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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