Apprehensions remain regarding Ethiopian Renaissance Dam: Egypt’s PM

Ahram Online , Wednesday 18 Nov 2015

Prime Minister Sherif Ismail says concerns regarding water and politics remain in talks with Ethiopia, Sudan

A general view of Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam, as it undergoes construction, is seen during a media tour along the river Nile in Benishangul Gumuz Region, Guba Woreda, in Ethiopia, March 31, 2015.(Photo:Reuters)

Egypt's Prime Minister Sherif Ismail stated in a Tuesday press conference in Sharm El-Sheikh that Egypt still has three concerns related to national security and the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.

Ismail said that the three concerns are “Egypt's historical water share from the Nile river, making sure that the dam will not affect Egypt's water share, and ensuring that the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam is not used for any political purpose other than generating electricity.”

"Egypt is not against development in any country, but there are fundamental concerns for Egypt, among them is keeping our share of the Nile River," Egypt's minister of irrigation Hossam Moghazi said in the press conference.

Egypt has repeatedly expressed concerns that Ethiopia's $4.2 billion dam on the Blue Nile, the construction of which is said to be at least 40 percent complete and is set to finish in 2017, would negatively affect its share of the Nile water.

Hossam Moghazi also revealed in the press conference that there would be a new meeting before the end of November to discuss issues related to the speed of the dam’s construction.
There will be another meeting for the ministers of irrigation from Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia as well the foreign consultancy firms and experts to finalise disputed issues in the talks over the dam, according to minister Moghazzi.

A tenth round of talks is scheduled to take place from 21-23 November in Khartoum.

In March 2015, Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia signed a declaration of principles on the dam, agreeing to safeguard the interests of all three countries. Two foreign consultancy firms, one Dutch and one French, have been chosen to carry out reports assessing the dam's negative effects on Egypt and Sudan, if any.

The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, now under construction across the Blue Nile River in Ethiopia and scheduled to be completed in 2017, will be Africa's largest hydroelectric power plant with a storage capacity of 74 billion cubic meters of water.

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