CAIRO, Jan 29 (Aswat Masriya) – Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan who have for years been locked in negotiations over an under-construction Ethiopian dam are reviewing a technical proposal to conduct two studies on the effects of the dam on Thursday.
Two French firms that have been hired by the trio to study the effects of the hydroelectric dam handed in the joint proposal to conduct two studies on Thursday, Egypt’s water and irrigation minister said in a statement on Friday.
The first study will determine the effects of the dam on the water reaching Egypt and Sudan, as well as on the effects on the electricity outputs of already existing dams, Minister Hossam Moghazi said in the statement published on the ministry’s Facebook page. Both Egypt’s Aswan High Dam and Sudan’s Merowe Dam are hydroelectric projects.
The second study will identify the effects of the environmental, economic and social effects of the dam on Egypt and Sudan, Moghazi added.
The minister did not provide any details on the content of the proposal but the three countries are reviewing it ahead of talks which will include representatives of the two companies, as agreed upon in a recent meeting in Sudanese capital Khartoum.
Tripartite talks in Khartoum in December led to the signing of the “Khartoum Document” which stipulated a mechanism for resolving contested issues related to the dam and set a time frame of eight months to a year for the completion of the technical studies. The Sudanese foreign minister had previously said the studies would start in February.
The three countries have held more than 10 rounds of talks over the past two years as Egypt seeks assurances that the hydroelectric dam will not reduce its share of Nile water.
For decades, Egypt has been receiving 55 billion cubic meters of the Nile river’s water annually, the largest share, as per agreements signed in the past century in the absence of Ethiopia, whose Blue Nile tributary supplies most of the water.
Once an agricultural state, Egypt relies on the Nile river as its main source of water but Ethiopia believes it is entitled to using the water for development, by creating electricity using the dam. The two countries have reiterated multiple times that they will not harm each other’s interests, which seem to conflict.