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Cairo hopes 'good sentiments' between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia translate to progress in dam talks

Ahram Online , Sunday 6 May 2018
GERD
File Photo: Construction site of Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (Photo: Reuters)
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Egyptian Water Resources and Irrigation Minister Mohamed Abdel-Ati said on Sunday that Egypt hopes that the current “good feelings” between Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia are reflected on the ground through agreements and consensuses over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

According to Al-Ahram Daily's print issue on Sunday, Minister Abdel-Ati met on Saturday with his Ethiopian and Sudanese counterparts, as well as forty members of the tripartite technical committee, to discuss outstanding issues on the studies conducted to determine the impact of the dam on downstream countries.

Representatives from French consulting firms Arterlia and BRL, which are tasked with carrying out the studies, also attended the meeting, which comes a few days after Ethiopia’s new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed affirmed that the dam will not harm Egypt’s share of water.

Al-Ahram added that Ethiopia's Water and Irrigation Minister Sileshi Bekele said that the talks held on Saturday pave the way for another meeting which will be held in the Ethiopian capital soon and will include the foreign, irrigation, and intelligence chiefs of the three countries.

Last week, Egypt called for an acceleration of the pace of the negotiations over the GERD.

The Saturday meeting also aimed to adhere to the agreed articles of the Declaration of Principles, signed in 2015 between the leaders of the three countries, regarding the need to complete the studies on the dam to avoid any possible negative effects on the downstream states.

The outcomes of the meeting have not been announced.

Another meeting for further talks is expected to be held on 15 May, according to statements made by Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry last week.

Egypt and Ethiopia are at loggerheads over the construction of the $4 billion hydroelectric dam, with Cairo fearing that the project could reduce its share of the Nile water.

In January, the leaders of the three countries set a one-month deadline from 5 April to 5 May to hold a trilateral technical meeting to end a stand-off in negotiations over the construction of the dam.

The Ethiopian government began construction of the dam on the Blue Nile near the border with Sudan in 2011, as part of a development plan aimed at eradicating poverty and generating electricity.

Over the past seven years, Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan have held several rounds of talks on the dam’s anticipated impact on Nile water resources.

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