Tripartite meetings on Renaissance Dam to resume following withdrawal of Dutch firm

Ahram Online , Monday 28 Sep 2015

The spokesperson for the Egyptian presidency says talks will resume between the three countries over disputes concerning the dam

A general view shows construction activity on the Grand Renaissance dam in Guba Woreda, Benishangul Gumuz region March 16, 2014 (Photo: Reuters)

The tripartite committee is set to resume talks on 5 October, spokesperson for Egypt's presidency Alaa Youssef told Al-Ahram Arabic news website on Monday.

The meeting comes almost a month following the withdrawal of Dutch consultancy firm Deltares from the studies related to the assessment of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.

The spokesperson did not specify which country will be hosting the meetings.

On the sidelines of the UN General Assembly’s 70th session, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi met with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn.

Both leaders stressed that their countries will be fully committed to  the declaration of principles signed by Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia last March.

Desalegn also stressed that the Renaissance Dam will be among the priorities of the new Ethiopian cabinet.

The Ethiopian PM has also highlighted that the Renaissance Dam will be a symbol of cooperation between Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, and all African countries.

The future of the Renaissance Dam negotiations remained unclear after Deltares's withdrawal.

Deltares withdrew from the project earlier in September, stating that the conditions imposed by the Tripartite National Committee (TNC) did not provide sufficient guarantees that an independent high-quality study could be carried out. 

Earlier in August, the TNC agreed to give 70 percent of the research workload to the French consultancy firm, while the other 30 percent was given to the Dutch firm.

The two foreign consultancy firms had planned to reach an agreement and deliver their reports on 5 September to a committee of representatives and experts from Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan.

Egypt 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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