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Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan to hold fresh meeting Monday on Nile Dam

Three African nations to examine regional impact of giant Ethiopian dam being built on Nile River tributary

Ahmed Eleiba, Thursday 31 Oct 2013
Ethiopia
File photo: Water gushes out from pipes by the construction of Ethiopia's Great Renaissance Dam in Guba Woreda, some 40 km (25 miles) from Ethiopia's border with Sudan, June 28, 2013 (Photo: REUTERS)
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Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan will hold a new round of talks starting Monday to weigh the regional impact of a giant dam being built on a Nile River tributary in Ethiopia after earlier studies proved questionable.

A meeting of water officials from the three nations in Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, will on 4 November discuss the impact of the hydroelectric project on downstream countries.

Egypt and Ethiopia have rowed about what would be the biggest hydropower plant in Africa, which Egypt fears will reduce its water supply.

Two of Africa's most populous nations appeared to have cooled the dispute recently, with the Egyptian prime minister telling a cabinet meeting on Wednesday the project might bring "prosperity to neighboring countries, given the water surplus the Horn of Africa nation has."

An Egyptian minister said a new round of talks would be held between ministers and delegates of the three countries over the coming weeks.

"Next week's meeting will be the first of a series of talks between the three nations aiming to reach a settlement," Water Resource and Irrigation Minister Mohamed Abdel-Muttalib told Ahram Online.

"Dialogue is fundamental to furthering the interests of the three countries, and that's what Egypt is looking forward to in the near future," he added.

The giant $4.2 billion dam Addis Ababa is building on the Blue Nile, near the Sudanese border, was announced two years ago but Egypt was alarmed when engineers started diverting the river in May as part of construction work at the site.

The minister made it clear that Egypt seeks to bolster cooperation with the Nile Basin counties as major strategic allies.

New assessment

In June, a international committee of experts said Ethiopia’s studies of the dam’s impact were "very basic, and not yet at a level of detail, sophistication and reliability that would befit a development of this magnitude, importance and with such regional impact."

According to a government statement, the parties will discuss the findings and recommendations of the international committee of experts tasked with assessing the Nile dam project in order to reach a consensual vision that does not affect the downstream countries' share of the Nile water.

An Egyptian diplomat said the meeting, which was put off several times earlier, would be decisive for Egypt's position on the project.

"The tripartite committee is due to draw up a major technical analysis upon which future moves by Egypt will be undertaken, as views are still conflicting to date," Egyptian presidential envoy to Africa Mona Omar told Ahram Online.

According to Omar, Cairo has proposed reducing the dam's capacity and offsetting the difference with another hydropower project away from the Blue Nile which provides almost all of Egypt's water.

The Egyptian government has applauded a recent positive stance by Addis Ababa, citing statements by Ethiopia's Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn in which he said the dam would not affect the water interests of the downstream countries and called for turning the project into a partnership rather than a source of conflict or war.

"There has been a notable positive development in Addis Ababa's stance... But more importantly, we need to iron out a settlement that serves the interests of all parties," Omar said.

 

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Danawit
04-11-2013 01:24pm
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Good wish
May God brings harmony and prosperity to Ethiopian and Egyptian people. These nations are the jewelry of African crown. These nations are populous and historical. If they rich to agreement and trust definitely this will be foundation for prosperity in the nations and the whole Northern and Eastern side of Africa. May God bless them.
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10



Danawit
04-11-2013 01:23pm
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Good wish
May God brings harmony and prosperity to Ethiopian and Egyptian people. These nations are the jewelry of African crown. These nations are populous and historical. If they rich to agreement and trust definitely this will be foundation for prosperity in the nations and the whole Northern and Eastern side of Africa. May God bless them.
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9



next call
04-11-2013 11:25am
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Empty the Aswan Dam while the GERD is filling up and nourish the Delta
I think Egypt should altogether empty the Aswan Dam during the feeling period of the Ethiopian Dam so as to bring life to the Nile Delta which has suffered enormously as a result of the building of the Aswan Dam. Farmers have been using billions of ton of artificial fertilizers due to lack of nourishment the floods brought about. The building of the Ethiopian Dam will allow Egypt and Sudan to empty the water along with the valuable silt cordoned behind the artificial structures dotting the NILE.it is opportune moment.
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Kristen
02-11-2013 02:21am
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On th 4th, Egyptians may be concerned with another matter... Dr. Morsi's trial
Because Dr.Morsi's court trial is set to also happen on the 4th, I expect little attention would be given to the issues around the high dam.
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Sharif Shehata
01-11-2013 07:16pm
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Egypt forever
Ethiopia dam will give Egyptians wake up call to be one untied again, when hard time comes. We are neighbors and we must have agreement and sharing everything. We don't need to have a big war in Africa and we don't need another countries come to Africa too. All we needs to be honest and to do our jobs right. God bless you all.
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Alex
01-11-2013 12:44am
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what would be a common interest
In a very true search of the common interest, does Egypt can keep thinking that it is not going to sacrifice what it claims to be its historical right? A genuine and rational thinking proves that as the upstream countries start to use their right on the Nile waters, there should be a definite loss of the Egypt's historical share that was granted by its colonial masters. Equally to Egypt's claim, each Nile basin countries should have the same right to use the Nile water proportionate to the percentage of the water contribution they provided to the river Nile flow. As Ethiopia has the majority share of the water inflow contribution, its right to use the Nile water either to generate power or for irrigation should not be compromised and NO ONE should have an oversight or prior approval on it including Egypt. This is our sovereign right as all other Ethiopians think so too. Having said this, though keeping the standard and safety of the dam will fall as part of Ethiopia's international obligation, managing the technical specifications of the dam and determining the level and type of external parties involvement including Egypt must be weighted against Ethiopia's national interest and security. The Ethiopian government should have a clear red line on this. As an Ethiopian, I don't want to see Egypt meddling around issues on how to use the water resources we have for a simple reason of cooperation. That is not absolutely of their concern and don't have a right to guide us from Cairo just to meet their interest and water need. Rather Egypt should have to start listening to the upstream countries and sign the Entebbe agreement first to legally and formally acknowledge the upstream countries right to use the Nile water without Cairo's prior approval. The starting point for mutual cooperation and interest should be by recognising this but not by undermining the upstream countries right to benefit from Nile including the GRD. Is that really Egypt's right to determine for Ethiopia where and at what river to build a dam? Is this not an arrogance of policy, an interference in the internal issues of a country, a disrespect to our sovereignty and an attempt to guide our action from Cairo? I know my message is very strong and challenges Egypt's interest, but it is a test on your professionalism and journalist ethics. I would keep eyes if you post it or not.
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next call
03-11-2013 11:57am
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immediate provisional quota for Ethiopia amounting to nothing less than 10 billion cubic meter
i agree with you and go further that before anything else, Egypt should join the ' Entebbe accords on the NILE'. Ethiopia is ' within' its right to claim some 10 to 15 billion cubic meter of water originating from its territory. International Law and norms are favorable to this precondition. This wills suffice to fill in the GERD in four to five years. This quota should be used by Ethiopia as benchmark to any negotiation to be held with Egypt and Sudan. As it stands, Ethiopia can't use much more than a couple of billion cubic meter due to the rugged nature of the Blue Nile and other tributaries. But is should make sure nothing short of this is palatable. Further more, as the Baro-Akobo and Atbara rivers are major contributors to the System, Egypt has nothing to fear but fear itself for along with the massive reservoir behind Lake Nassir, there should be more than ample water for Egyptians. True, the numerous resorts along the Sinai where millions of Ruskis engage in binge drinking wi
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Moutafa elsayad
31-10-2013 09:39pm
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Water Loss and Ignorance
If Egyptians conserve water, we will save 1enough water to irrigate Sinai and Northern coast up to Libya. Ignorance is our enemy./3 of consumption
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Aladdin, egypt
31-10-2013 09:36pm
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Hydrology
The dam will trap lot of sediment that will made useless in few decades and extend the life of the High Dam. the Ethiopian dam will flood millions of agriculture land that its loss will undermine the validity of the dam.
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mom
31-10-2013 08:49pm
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touristy
by systematically deliberately blocking and sabotaging irrigation and water projects in Ethiopia, millions people to death in starvation, hanger and touristy.
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Nurruddin Ayoub
31-10-2013 08:44pm
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rabbit vis-a-vis Ethiopia
Egypt is now in a much weakened position. It is divided against itself, and the only goal of the ruling junta is to crush the Islamist opposition. The Sisi Junta behaves like a rabbit vis-a-vis Ethioptia.
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