Ethiopia cites satisfaction with outcome of Nile dam talks

Relations between Cairo and Addis Ababa soured last year over Ethiopia's construction of a $6.4-billion hydroelectric dam on the Blue Nile.

Ethiopia cites satisfaction with outcome of Nile dam talks

World Bulletin / News Desk

The Ethiopian delegation to tripartite talks with Sudan and Egypt over Ethiopia's multibillion-dollar Nile dam project – recently held in Khartoum – has expressed satisfaction with the meeting's outcome.

"Delegations from the three countries held transparent discussions and passed a number of decisions towards the implementation of the recommendations put forth by the international panel of experts," Ethiopian Water Minister Alemayehu Tegenu told a press briefing in Addis Ababa upon his arrival from Khartoum.

"Hammering out ways of implementing the recommendations of the panel took center stage during the two days of tripartite talks," Tegenu said.

He added: "We have agreed on a number of points deemed important to implement the recommendations."

Relations between Cairo and Addis Ababa soured last year over Ethiopia's construction of a $6.4-billion hydroelectric dam on the Blue Nile. The project raised alarm bells in Egypt, which relies on the river for almost all of its water needs.

Last year, an international panel of experts recommended that two studies be conducted: a hydrological simulation model and an environmental, social and economic impact assessment.

To this end, the minister said, the delegations had agreed to form a 12-member follow-up committee comprised of four experts from each of the three countries.

Tegenu added that an international consultant would be employed to speedily conduct the two recommended studies.

Asked if the dam's construction would be halted while the two studies were being conducted, the minister said: "Construction will not be stopped; nothing of that sort was suggested in the meeting by anybody."

Egypt and Ethiopia agreed to resume tripartite discussions over the dam project after Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi met in Equatorial Guinea in June.

The tripartite meetings came after an eight-month hiatus due to ongoing differences between Cairo and Addis Ababa.

A tripartite technical committee was set up in 2011 and tasked with studying the dam's impact on downstream states Egypt and Sudan.

Ethiopia, for its part, says the dam is necessary for its national development plans.

It insists the project won't impact Egypt's traditional share of Nile water, which has long been governed by a colonial-era water-sharing treaty that Addis Ababa has never recognized.

Last Mod: 29 Ağustos 2014, 09:45
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