Renaissance Dam negotiations currently 'difficult': Egypt's prime minister

Ahram Online , Monday 14 Dec 2015

Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam (Reuters)

Egypt’s Prime Minister Sherif Ismail said on Monday that negotiations are currently "difficult" over Ethiopia’s Grand Renaissance Dam which is currently being built on the Blue Nile, state owned MENA agency reported.

Ismail said during a meeting with reporters at the cabinet that time is an important factor in the talks, where Egypt is working towards ensuring its rights are protected.

He said that Egypt's main focus is preserving its historical share of water from the River Nile, and that the dam will not be used for any purposes that are not developmental or economical.

The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, scheduled to be completed in 2017, will be Africa's largest hydroelectric power plant with a storage capacity of 74 billion cubic metres of water.

Egypt has repeatedly expressed concerns that filling and operating the dam on the Blue Nile will negatively affect Egypt's water supply, while Ethiopia has rejected these claims. 

Ismail's statement comes a few days after Egypt's irrigation minister Hossam Moghazi refuted claims related to the failure of the latest tripartite meeting on Friday and Saturday over Ethiopia's Renaissance dam.

Moghazi said that the last tripartite meeting, which took place in Sudan’s Khartoum, was the first time that Egypt officially discussed its concerns with the foreign and irrigation ministers of Sudan and Ethiopia.

During the last meeting, Egypt raised several concerns related to the "fast pace with which the dam is being built, the importance of the impact studies on the dam."

A new round of talks will take place on 27-28 December in Khartoum.

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