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Thursday, 14 November 2019

ECSS set to hold major conference on GERD following stalled negotiations

Ahram Online , Sunday 13 Oct 2019
Renaissance Dam
File Photo: Ethiopia’s Grand Renaissance Dam (AFP)
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The Egyptian Centre for Strategic Studies (ECSS) is set to hold a major conference on Tuesday to discuss issues related to the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) after a recent round of negotiations in Khartoum reached a stalemate.

The conference, set to be held in the Marriott in Zamalek, Cairo, will include a number of experts and researchers in water and dam affairs, and will discuss issues related to the negotiation process between Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia under the title 'Renaissance Dam: Between Imposing Status Quo and Egyptian National Security Demands.'

Khaled Okasha, director of ECESS, will launch the forum, which will comprise three main sessions.

The first session, held under the title 'Renaissance Dam Crisis: Implications and Repercussions,' will be moderated by academic advisor to the ECSS Mohamed Megahed El-Zayed.

Former water resources and irrigation minister Mohamed Nasr Allam will speak during the session about Egypt's vision regarding the crisis and its fallout.

Al-Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies expert Hany Raslan will discuss how Ethiopia views the GERD issue.

The forum's second session will discuss reactions to the GERD crisis, with representatives from the water resources and irrigation and foreign ministries to address the technical and political dimensions of the crisis.

Head of the State Information Service Diaa Rashwan will evaluate Egyptian and foreign media's approach to reporting on the crisis.

The third session will address available alternatives to the negotiations, where Cairo University professor Mohamed Sameh Amr will speak about options in resorting to international law.

Former aide to the foreign minister Mohamed Hegazi will address international mediations in the crisis.

The conference comes amid heightened tensions between Egypt and Ethiopia after talks broke down on the technical details regarding the operation of the mega-dam Addis Ababa is building on the Blue Nile.

Egyptian officials said earlier this month that talks over the matter had reached a deadlock and called for international mediation. Ethiopia has dismissed the calls for mediation, saying it has faith in the trilateral negotiations.

On Friday, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed agreed in a phone call to overcome any obstacles facing negotiations on the dam's operation, according to the Egyptian presidency.

Egypt fears that the dam will reduce its water supply, which is dependent on the Nile.

Ethiopia maintains the hydroelectric dam will not restrict the river’s flow and hopes the mega-project will turn it into a regional power hub.

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