Cairo says 'technical issues' on GERD studies remain unresolved after tripartite committee meeting
Ahram Online , Tuesday 16 May 2017
An archival for the establishment process of Ethiopia's Renaissance Dam (Photo: Al Ahram)
Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia have not yet resolved points of contention over studies evaluating the potential impact of the Grand Ethiopian Rennassaince Dam (GERD) after a tripartite committee meeting to discuss the dam concluded on Tuesday, Egypt's irrigation ministry said.
The ministry said that the committee of experts tasked by the three countries to oversee the studies, which concluded its 14th meeting in Addis Ababa on Tuesday, will discuss "outstanding technical points" about the impact studies in a future meeting.
The three-day meeting between experts and specialists from the three countries saw a discussion of the terms under which the studies are to be carried out, the data the two French firms commissioned with conducting the studies need to provide, and the mechanism of sharing and verifying information presented by the firms, the statement said.
The current, "initial" phase of the discussions involves the technical methodology of the studies, according to the ministry's statement.
The meeting in Addis Ababa also addressed points of concern by the three countries on an initial report delivered in late March by French firms BRL and Artelia about the technical studies, which assess the hydrological, environmental and economic impact of the mega project on downstream countries.
BRL said last year that the studies were scheduled to start in late 2016 and should take 11 months, but the process has since been lingering.
The 6,000-megawatt Grand Renaissance Dam, which is slated for completion in 2017, is situated close to Ethiopia's border with Sudan. Ethiopia hopes it will be able to export energy generated by the dam.
Egypt, however, has expressed concerns that the dam might reduce its share of Nile water.
Ethiopia maintains that the dam will not have any negative impact on Egypt or Sudan.
This week's meeting came almost one month after a visit to Egypt by Ethiopian Foreign Minister Workneh Gebeyehu, who reiterated that the dam would never harm Egypt's interests.