Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Sudan, Egypt, Ethiopia sign deal on Nile dam

Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia signed a deal Tuesday on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) following three days of meetings in the Sudanese capital Khartoum.

Attempts to reach consensus on the deal have been taking place throughout the past year via dialogue among the concerned parties.

In September 2014, local expert committees from Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia recommended conducting two more studies on the GERD. The first proposed test was on the dam's impact on Egypt and Sudan's water shares, and the second on the anticipated environmental, economic and social impact on both Sudan and Egypt.

Then, in March 2015, the three countries signed a Declaration of Principles in Khartoum articulating the continuation of talks on political and technical issues, as well as conducting technical studies to protect the three countries' shares in the river Nile.

"The deal is the culmination of the Declaration of Principles signed by the three countries' leaders last March," said Sudan's foreign minister Ibrahim Ghandour during a press conference Tuesday.

Ghandour said the deal stipulates the three countries' consensus on a French Office to finalize the GERD's technical studies; speeding up said studies; solid commitment to the Declaration of Principles; advancing confidence building as well as coordinating regular meetings between Foreign and Water Ministries in the three countries.

"A fixed timetable is in place for finalizing the technical studies," he noted.

Ghandour described the deal as "historic," reaffirming the three countries' shared readiness to refine dialogue, develop confidence and enhance strategic partnerships with secure ties and shared interests.

Egypt's Foreign Minister, Sameh Shoukry, expressed his satisfaction with the deal, saying "it reflects the three countries' shared willingness to overcome all barriers."

"During three days of dialogue, the importance of enhancing confidence and reaching common interests on equitable opportunities was highlighted. We have arrived at a good deal," he added.

Meanwhile, Ethiopia's Foreign Minister, Tedros Adhanom, reiterated his country's commitment to work with both Sudan and Egypt, stressing the importance of a strategic partnership between the three countries.

The GERD unsettles Egypt as it fears the dam could impact its share in the Nile river, which amounts to 55.5 billion cubic meters. Equally, Ethiopia stated that the dam will most likely affect its resources, namely in the electricity sector.

The GERD extends over an area of 1,800 square km, and is expected to be finalized in three years, at a cost of 4.7 billion US dollars.

   Xinhua - globaltimes.cn


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