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Tripartite Meeting on Nile Water

Sudan Tribune. August 26, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The water and irrigation ministers of Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan meeting in Khartoum sealed an agreement by which a committee comprised of experts from the three countries would be formed under the supervision of an international consultancy firm to conduct studies on the impact of the Grand Renaissance dam.

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Planned Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam project (file/AP)

According to the joint statement read out by the Sudanese minister of Water Resources and Electricity Moatez Moussa, the delegations of the three countries conducted “honest” deliberations for two years in an atmosphere of trust and transparency and agreed on solidarity between the three countries to conduct the two additional studies recommended by the panel of international experts (IPoE).

The proposed committee would bring four experts from each country and would finish its work in six months time starting from the 1st of September.

In the last three meetings held in Khartoum, Ethiopia vehemently rejected Egypt’s idea to form new committees to study the dam’s impact.

Egypt’s Irrigation Minister Hussam El-Maghazi told reporters that this is an agreement on the mechanism for implementing the recommendations of the IPoE which is important to Cairo he said to ascertain that its share of water is not affected and also to verify the integrity of the dam structures.

“We didn’t say that Egypt publicly agreed to the construction of the dam…the final word on that is with the international consultancy firm….we have not agreed to the storage capacity of the dam,” El-Maghazi said.

The Egyptian minister said at the opening of the negotiations that "we have a special status different from the rest of the states, as we are entirely dependent on water from the Nile”.

For his part, the Ethiopian minister of Water Resources and Electricity Alemayehu Tegen said the agreement enhances confidence between the three countries but stressed that work in the dam will not stop.

"There is no reason to stop the construction of the dam and we understand the concerns of the Sudanese and Egyptians on the dam," Tegen said.

He extended an invitation to his counterparts in Egypt and Sudan to visit the site of the dam in the near future.

Egypt argues the multi-billion dollars project, which Ethiopia is building along the Nile River near the Sudanese border, would eventually diminish its water share. It further asserts that the dam, which is the largest along the Nile river would reduce the amount of electricity generated by the Aswan Dam and adversely impact its agricultural production.

The IPoE in their final report said Ethiopia’s dam project would not result in any significant harm to the two downstream countries, Sudan and Egypt.


 

Egypt Wants Sudan to Mediate Nile Water Tripartite Meeting

Sudan Tribune. August 24, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The Egyptian minister of irrigation, Hussam Maghazi, said that his country is looking forward to seeing Sudan play an intermediary role in the tripartite meeting which will be held in Khartoum on Monday in a bid to arrive at a satisfactory agreement on the controversial Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

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An Egyptian farmer holds a handful of soil to show the dryness of the land due to drought in a farm formerly irrigated by the river Nile, in Al-Dakahlya, about 120km from Cairo, on 13 June 2013 (Photo: Reuters/Mohamed Abd El Ghany)

Khartoum will host a new round of talks on Monday and Tuesday which have been going on for the last two years between Sudan, Egypt, and Ethiopia on the Renaissance Dam. The previous three rounds had fallen short of achieving full agreement on the issue.

Maghazi said in press statements on Sunday that his delegation had received political instructions to engage in talks with Ethiopia with an open heart, saying Egypt sees that negotiations is the only available option to arrive at an agreement on the issue.

Khartoum’s meeting seeks to achieve an agreement on a joint mechanism for implementing the recommendations of the International Panel of Experts (IPoE) regarding the GERD.

The IPoE is composed of six representatives each drawn from Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan, and four other international experts and was established to assess the impact of the dam project on downstream countries.

The Egyptian minister also said his ministry is still considering the project to link the River Nile to the Congo River, but stressed the project would not be a substitute for negotiations on the GERD.

He said the Egyptian side will raise a question in the meeting on whether the Ethiopian side would submit the additional studies requested previously by the IPoE, predicting the latter would make the studies ready in the coming period.

Sudan’s undersecretary of the ministry of water resources and electricity, Musa Omer Abu al-Gasim, said the meeting comes within the framework of his country’s positive and pivotal role towards the Nile basin countries.

He stressed Sudan’s keeness on coordination among partners to utilise water resources to achieve sustainable development for the benefit of the peoples of the region.

Abu al-Gasim further pointed that development in Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia would largely participate to development of the East and North African region.

Sudan’s minister of water resources and electricity, Mutaz Musa, told the official news agency SUNA on Sunday that the meeting represents a good opportunity for convergence and agreement among the three countries, pointing it would put them into the right track regarding the agenda put forward on the negotiations table.

Tripartite meetings had stopped six months ago.

Egypt argues the multi-billion dollars project, which Ethiopia is building along the Nile River near the Sudanese border, would eventually diminish its water share. It further asserts that the dam, which is the largest along the Nile river would reduce the amount of electricity generated by the Aswan Dam and adversely impact its agricultural production.

The IPoE in their final report said Ethiopia’s dam project would not result in any significant harm to the two downstream countries, Sudan and Egypt.


 

Sudan’s Support for Ethiopia’s Nile Dam

Sudan Tribune

“No political motive” behind Sudan’s support for Ethiopia’s Nile dam: ambassador

By Tesfa-Alem Tekle

December 14, 2013 (ADDIS ABABA) – Sudan’s support to Ethiopia’s controversial dam project is not politically driven, Sudan’s ambassador to Ethiopia said on Friday.

Sudan’s ambassador to Ethiopia Abdul Rahman Sir-al-Katim

“We fully support the project because it benefits Sudan”, ambassador Abdul Rahman Sir-al-Katim told reporters in Addis Ababa, referring to the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), which is being built just 30kms away from the Sudanese border in Ethiopia’s western Benshangul Gumz region.

“We are not playing a political role”, he said, adding that “Sudan genuinely supports the project”.

The Sudanese diplomat said his country will continue to extend the necessary support to the multi-billion dollar project as long as Khartoum remains convinced that the project is beneficial to Sudan, Ethiopia and Egypt.

Egypt fears that the $4.6 billion hydropower plant, which Ethiopia is building on the Blue Nile, will diminish its share of the river’s water, arguing its historic water rights must be maintained.

Ethiopia is the source of around 85% of the Nile’s water, mainly through rainfall in its highlands. Over 90% of Egyptians rely on water from the Nile’s flows.

In June, a panel of international experts who were tasked by the three countries to study the impacts of the Ethiopian dam on lower riparian countries, including Sudan and Egypt, found that the dam project will not cause significant harm to either country.

Cairo remains unconvinced and has sought further studies and consultation with Khartoum and Addis Ababa.

Sudan, however, has accepted the final findings and offered to send experts and technicians to help in the dam’s construction, a move welcomed by Ethiopia.

Once completed, the project is expected to have a generation of capacity of 6,000 megawatts, with Ethiopia hoping to export electricity to its East African neighbours, as well as Egypt.

The water ministers of Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan met for the second time in Khartoum a few days ago to discuss ways of implementing the recommendations made by the international panel of experts.

Although the ministerial meeting failed to reach a breakthrough on outstanding issues, government officials at Ethiopia’s ministry of water, irrigation and energy told Sudan Tribune that the three sides have agreed on the establishment of a tripartite committee to deal with existing differences, particularly with Egypt.

SUDAN, ETHIOPIA DEAL

With regard to cooperation agreements signed recently between Sudan and Ethiopia, the Sudanese ambassador expressed his government’s commitment to implement them.

Concluding a two-day of meeting of the High-Level Joint Commission last week in Khartoum, Sudanese president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir and Ethiopian prime minister Haile Mariam Desalegn inked 14 agreements and memorandums of understanding to enhance their cooperation in a range of fields, including on trade, aviation services and preventing human trafficking.

“We are very keen to implement the agreements signed between Sudan and Ethiopia”, the ambassador said.

He noted a need for the two countries to take practical actions to implement the agreements that aim to boost economic and security cooperation of the two neighbours.

Al-Katim said a mechanism that follows up the implementation of the signed agreements should include all levels of government, including the concerned ministries of both countries.


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