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Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia experts meet in Addis Ababa to discuss report on GERD impact studies

Ahram Online , Sunday 14 May 2017
The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam The GERD hasn't stopped the Blue Nile from flowing into the downstream countries during construction (Photo: Bassem Abo Alabass)

Experts from Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia are holding talks in Addis Ababa with representatives from foreign consultancy firms to discuss an initial report by the firms on the effect of the Ethiopian Grand Renaissance Dam (GERD) on downstream countries, Egypt's irrigation ministry said.

Ministry spokesman Walid Haqiqi told Al-Ahram Arabic news website that Sunday's meeting comes as a continuation of a four-day April meeting held in Cairo.

In April, the committee discussed an initial report prepared by the two French consultancy firms Atrelia and BRL on the effect of the dam on downstream countries, where they agreed on several technical points to be taken into consideration by the firms when formulating a final report.

The initial discussions conducted by the three countries were held to decide on a mechanism to be adopted by the firms in carrying out their studies.

The three countries said in April that the firms are respecting the recommendations of the committee of experts, which recommended that the studies focus on the concerns expressed by the three states, including the best mechanism for filling the dam.

The studies by the French firms, expected to take 11 months from their start date in late 2016, will include the managing of water and hydroelectric resources as well as an assessment of the cross-border environmental, social and economic impact of the mega project.

Cairo has expressed concerns that the construction of the Renaissance Dam, which is more than halfway complete, could negatively affect Egypt's share of Nile water.

Addis Ababa, however, has maintained that the dam project, which Ethiopia says is vital for generating electricity, will not harm downstream countries, with Ethiopian FM Workneh Gebeyehu assuring Egyptians last April during a first-time Cairo visit that Addis Ababa will never harm the Egyptian people and their interests.

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