Egypt has ‘pressure cards’ in Ethiopia Renaissance dam dispute, says minister

Ahram Online , Tuesday 13 Oct 2015

Hossam El-Moghazi
Egypt's Irrigation Minister Hossam El-Moghazi (Photo: Al Ahram)

Egypt holds pressure cards in Ethiopia's Renaissance dam issue and is making political and diplomatic efforts that aim to reach a compromise, Egypt's irrigation minister Hossam Moghazi said in press statements late Monday.

"We are currently discussing the next tripartite meeting between the irrigation ministers of Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan to decide over the fate of both the French and the Dutch consultancy firms. It is expected to take place within the last 10 days of October," he said.

Moghazi, however, said that the current dispute is not about a power struggle between the involved parties, stressing that Egypt is seeking political and diplomatic solutions for the stand off. 

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

However, the Dutch consultancy firm Deltares withdrew from the assessment of the dam.

Deltares stated that it had withdrawn from the project as the conditions imposed by the Tripartite National Committee (TNC) -- which includes representatives from Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia, as well as the French consultancy firm BRL -- did not provide sufficient guarantees for Deltares that an independent high-quality study could be carried out.

Earlier this month, Egypt called for a TNC meeting in Cairo but Ethiopia requested to postpone it.

Since then, the future of the Renaissance Dam negotiations has remained unclear.

Egypt has repeatedly expressed concerns that its share of Nile water could be compromised by Ethiopia's dam project.

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