Egypt 'alarmed' at progress of Ethiopia's Renaissance dam construction

Ahram Online , Wednesday 25 Nov 2015

Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam (Reuters)

Egypt renewed its strong commitment to completing technical studies of the dam in a timely manner 'before it is too late,' Egyptian Spokesperson for the Renaissance Dam and advisor to the Minister of Water Resources Alaa Yassin said on Tuesday.

Egypt highlighted the importance of the overdue technical studies and their political significance amid the "alarming" speed of construction.

A source from the Egyptian irrigation ministry expects that Egypt will officially request halting the second phase of construction until further negotiations are held concerning the filling of the dam.

Yassin said in a press statement that consultations between the three countries (Sudan, Ethiopia, and Egypt) are underway in order to determine the timing of two meetings. The first is the six-party meeting, which includes water ministers from the three countries. The second meeting in Khartoum will be the tenth round of the national tripartite committee.

The spokesperson added that Egypt put forward, during the ninth meeting of the Tripartite National Committee in Cairo on 8 and 9 November, concerns about the Renaissance Dam, including the delay in conducting studies related to the effects of the dam on Egypt and Sudan.

During the last meeting, Egypt expressed its concern that construction of the dam is proceeding without the studies’ findings being implemented.

"We have asked for meetings with foreign irrigation ministers due to the limited functioning of the tripartite committee,” Yassin says.

He then stressed the need to swiftly implement studies conducted by the international advisory body, which takes into account Egypt's concerns and ensures the implementation of the studies’ recommendations in a timely manner.

Yassin called for abiding by the Declaration of Principles, which was signed by the three presidents in Khartoum in March 2015, and includes the principle of non-harming, cooperation.

The Sudanese Minister of Water Resources and Electricity Ambassador Moataz Moussa, announced yesterday Cairo's keenness to hold a six-party meeting of Foreign and irrigation ministers before the technical meeting of Ministers of Water Resources to discuss the differences between the two offices of international consultants (French and Dutch) assigned to implement the studies.

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