Egypt Asks the 1959 Colonial Agreement to be Springboard for Impact Assessment

Egypt-Ethiopia-GERDOctober 21, 2017 - During the Tripartite National Committee (TNC), which includes Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan, Egypt requested to use the 1959 colonial water sharing agreement signed between Egypt and Sudan, as a springboard when an impact assessment is conducted, according to the Ethiopian reporter .

Egypt made the request at the TNC meeting that was held in Addis Ababa in the middle of this week. It was the 16th meeting that the Committee held at Ellily Hotel in Addis Ababa.

The request was blatantly dismissed by Ethiopian authorities. The 1959 agreement between Egypt and Sudan gives the 56 billion cubic meters share of the Nile water to Egypt while 18 billion cubic meters of the river’s water is slated to Sudan. The remainder is left to ensure the smooth continuous flow of the river.

The meeting that was intended to prepare guidelines for the consultants BRL and Artelia, both French companies, for the impact assessment study they have been contracted to conduct, the water ministers of the three countries paid a day’s visit to the construction site of Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). A draft document of the guidelines was prepared but the details are not yet disclosed.

It is to be remembered that the two consulting firms were selected by the three countries in 2016 to conduct the assessment at a contract price of 4.5 million euros.

The GERD is being constructed to hold 70 billion cubic meters of water in its artificial lake. The 5.1 billion dollars project (previously 4.5 billion dollars before the devaluation of the birr), has reached at 60 percent construction level, according to official data.

Although the Egyptian minister of water and electricity, Mohammed Abdulati (PhD) stated that he was happy to visit the dam, he expressed concerns over the delay of the impact assessment on the two major issues that the international panel of experts recommended.

Sudan’s minister for water and electricity, Mutaz Abdullah Salim, on his part, asserted that the Blue Nile should be a symbol of unity and mutual growth, and not source of hatred. And added, it is possible to use the water in cooperation.

“I hope that this ministerial level meeting being held in Addis Ababa will bring issues that the previous meetings in Khartoum and Cairo did not,” he said.

Ethiopia’s minister of water, irrigation and electricity, Sileshi Bekele (PhD) also said that the decision to make the minsters visit the construction site was meant to facilitate information sharing and clarity among the countries.

“This shows, apart from Ethiopia’s commitment to strengthen cooperation among the Nile riparian countries, that it is beneficiary to be transparent when it comes to the issue of the Nile as it helps in strengthening economic, social and political relations between the three countries,” he asserted.

Source: The Reporter



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