Ethiopia’s foreign minister hails 'positive' developments with Egypt and Sudan

Ahram Online , Saturday 26 Sep 2015

The foreign minister's statements come at a time of uncertainty for negotiations after the withdrawal of Dutch consultancy firm Deltares from studies assessing the impact of the Renaissance Dam

File Photo: Ethiopian foreign affairs minister Tedros Adhanom (Reuters)

Ethiopian foreign affairs minister Tedros Adhanom said on Saturday that the declaration of principles signed in March by Egyptian, Ethiopian, and Sudanese leaders in Sudan’s capital Khartoum aims to make 'positive moves' between the three countries.

Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia signed the declaration of principles on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), agreeing to safeguard the interests of all three countries.

Adhanom said in press statements, on the sidelines of his delegation’s participation in the UN General Assembly, that he considers things to be going well between the three countries on all levels.

He described the three countries as ‘brothers', refusing to comment on the progress of the negotiations concerning the controversial GERD that has created tensions with Egypt.

The Ethiopian foreign minister pointed out that all ‘technical’ details are being handled by the irrigation ministers of the three countries.

His statements come at a time of uncertainty for negotiations, as the Dutch consultancy firm Deltares withdrew from studies related to assessing the probable impact of GERD. 

The Dutch firm said insufficient guarantees were given that an independent and high quality study could result from the consultancy process on the dam’s project.

The future of the negotiations remain unclear. 

Egyptian irrigation minister Hossam Moghazi said earlier in September that President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi is aware of all the details and technical aspects related to the negotiations, and that Egypt has several options, but will negotiate as El-Sisi decides.

Moghazi said that Cairo is set to host the next round of talks that will include representatives from the three concerned countries. A date for the meeting was not announced.

Egypt - who has a share of 55 billion cubic meters - is currently suffering from a water deficit of 20 billion cubic meters which it compensates through water recycling, a process that is not viable in the long run.

The dam, 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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