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ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry [left] hold talks with his Ethiopian counterpart Workineh Gebeyehu in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Egypt has recommended the World Bank as a technical mediator with a neutral and final opinion in the issue of Ethiopia's under-construction mega dam on the shared Nile River, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry's spokesman said in a statement on Tuesday. XINHUA PHOTO - MICHAEL TEWELDE

Egypt keen to reach fair deal on Ethiopia Nile dam: minister 

CAIRO Egypt (Xinhua) -- Egyptian Irrigation Minister Mohamed Abdel-Aati stressed on Monday the importance of reaching a fair deal on the Ethiopian Grand Renaissance Dam (GERD), official MENA news agency reported.

Egypt will not be a party to any agreement that does not preserve its water rights and interests, Abdel-Aati told lawmakers.

He underlined that the talks are now focused on the declaration of principles deal that was signed two years ago.

The minister announced that Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry will head to Ethiopia this week before a visit planned by his Sudanese counterpart to Egypt next week as part of the negotiations aiming at reaching a deal concerning the Ethiopian dam.

Egypt is worried about its annual share of 55.5 billion cubic meters of the Nile River water amid the GERD’s rapid construction.

Egypt’s ties with Ethiopia have seen ups and downs since the latter started the dam project in April 2011 as the Arab country has been suffering from turmoil following an uprising that toppled former president Hosni Mubarak.

When President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi took office in 2014, he showed understanding of Ethiopia’s aspiration for development through the GERD that would produce around 6,000 megawatts of electricity to the country.

In March 2015, the leaders of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan signed an initial cooperation deal on the principles of sharing the Nile River water and the construction of the GERD, which will be Africa’s largest dam upon completion.

Earlier in 2010, an agreement was signed among some Nile Basin states in Uganda’s Entebbe about the sharing of the Nile River water, but it was rejected by Egypt and its downstream partner Sudan, citing the deal affects their usual annual share of the Nile water.
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UPDATE:

Egypt seeks World Bank as technical mediator in Ethiopia’s dam issue

CAIRO Egypt (Xinhua) -- Egypt has recommended the World Bank as a technical mediator with a neutral and final opinion in the issue of Ethiopia’s under-construction mega dam on the shared Nile River, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry’s spokesman said in a statement on Tuesday.

The recommendation came during talks held Tuesday in Addis Ababa between Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and his Ethiopian counterpart Workneh Gebeyehu, Egyptian Foreign Ministry’s Spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid said in the statement.

The meetings of a tripartite technical committee comprising Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) have been fruitless over the past sessions, with both Ethiopia and Sudan eyeing massive benefits from the dam construction while Egypt sees it as a threat to its share of the Nile River water.

"Shoukry stressed the sensitivity of Egypt’s water security and that it cannot rely on mere promises and remarks of good faith," said the Egyptian spokesman in the statement.

In March 2015, the leaders of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan signed an initial cooperation deal on the principles of sharing the Nile River water and the construction of the GERD, which will be Africa’s largest dam upon completion.

Shoukry urged Gebeyehu that Ethiopia has to stick to the cooperation deal principles, including prior studies and agreement among the three countries before filling and operating the dam.

"The Ethiopian side promised to study the Egyptian proposal and reply as soon as possible," said the Egyptian spokesman, noting that Egypt will convey the proposal to Sudan in the coming few days.

Shoukry met later on Tuesday with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn in Addis Ababa, where they discussed the general bilateral relations between the two countries and the preparation for Desalegn’s visit to Egypt in January 2018.

"The meeting also addressed the challenges facing the course of the GERD negotiations," said Abu Zeid.

The recent meeting of the tripartite technical committee on the GERD, comprising irrigation ministers of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan, failed to approve an introductory report by a consultant company on the dam’s effects on the two downstream countries, namely Egypt and Sudan.

Egypt is concerned about its annual share of 55.5 billion cubic meters of the Nile River water amid the GERD’s rapid construction.

Egypt and its downstream partner Sudan rejected in 2010 an agreement signed among some Nile Basin states in Uganda’s Entebbe about the sharing of the Nile River water, as both countries believed the deal would affect their usual annual share of the river water.

Egypt’s ties with Ethiopia have seen ups and downs since the latter started the dam project in April 2011 while Egypt was suffering turmoil following an uprising that toppled former President Hosni Mubarak.

When President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi took office in 2014, he showed understanding of Ethiopia’s aspiration for development through the GERD that would produce around 6,000 megawatts of electricity to the country.

On Monday, Egyptian Irrigation Minister Mohamed Abdel-Aati stressed the importance of reaching a fair deal on the Ethiopian reservoir, saying "Egypt will not be a party of any agreement that does not preserve its water rights and interests."

On the other hand, relations between Egypt and Sudan have been tense over the past years on various issues.

In May, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir accused Egypt of providing military support to armed rebels in his country, which was strongly denied by the Egyptian leadership.

The two countries also have a territorial dispute over the border region of Halayeb and Shalateen, which are currently under Egyptian control.
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NOVEMBER 2017:

Ethiopia calls for dialogue with Egypt on mega dam

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- The Ethiopian government on Saturday called for transparent dialogue with the Egyptian government and public on a 6,450-megawatt hydro dam Ethiopia is constructing.

Egypt, a Nile river downstream country, has feared that the dam will cut into its water supply, potentially crippling its agricultural sector that is already struggling with water shortage.

Speaking to Xinhua, Sileshi Bekele, Ethiopian Minister of Water, Irrigation and Electricity (MoWIE), said there is little understanding in Egypt on the benefits of the dam Ethiopia is building on Blue Nile river.

“The hydro dam will reduce the amount of siltation and floods that severely affects hydro dams in downstream countries like Egypt and Sudan by regulating the water flow” he said.

MOWIE explains Sudan alone spends an average of 50 million U.S. dollars annually on removing silt from its dams.

Ethiopia insists that the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) is part of its desire to equitably use Nile water to help power its economic growth.

The minister further said Ethiopia is building the dam with a view to harnessing energy for regional economic integration especially of Northeast Africa.

Tensions over GERD saw senior Ethiopian and Egyptian officials exchange war of words this week, prompting fears it could lead to political crisis between the two African countries.

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Ethiopia rejects Egyptian warnings over Nile river

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- Ethiopia on Thursday rejected warnings from Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi over a mega hydroelectric dam Ethiopia is building that Egypt fears could reduce its share of water from the Nile river basin.

Speaking to journalists at a press conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopian foreign ministry spokesman Meles Alem said Ethiopia is firm on its position of equitable use of the Nile’s water.

Ethiopia is building a 6,450 MW hydroelectric dam, the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, on the Blue Nile that it says is part of its desire for equitable use of Nile waters to help power its economic growth.

It insists that as the source of 86 percent of the Nile waters, Ethiopia needs to use the Nile waters to meet the economic needs of its population of around 100 million.

Egypt, a largely desert nation of around 95 million people, is highly dependent on the Nile’s water for its economy.

“The issue of the Nile river is a life-or-death matter for Ethiopians,” said Alem, employing the same “life-and-death” description used by al-Sisi on Saturday.

“Water is a matter of life or death,” the Egyptian president was quoted as saying. “No one can touch Egypt’s share of water.”

Egypt fears that the hydroelectric dam will cut into its water supply, potentially crippling its agricultural sector which is already facing strains from water shortages.  Enditem

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Egypt rejects accusation of using Sudan Nile water quota

CAIRO Egypt (Xinhua) -- Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry rejected on Wednesday the statements of his Sudanese counterpart that Egypt used some of Sudan’s Nile water quota for many years.

In statements published by Egypt’s official MENA news agency, Shoukry said that Sudan’s annual Nile water quota had been, for some time in the past, far more than its capacity, thus any surplus would normally flow to Egypt through the river.

Sudan’s Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour said during a recent interview with Russia Today that Egypt had used some of Sudan’s water quota for many years.

Meanwhile, Shoukry wondered how Sudan could have possibly stopped the normal flow of water when it was totally out of its hands.

This “unexpected” surplus had been “a burden on and a threat to” the Aswan High Dam in Egypt, which could not store extra amounts of water especially in times of floods, said Shoukry, adding that Egypt had to vainly discharge this part of Sudan’s unused water to the Toshka Lakes behind the dam.

Shoukry said he was surprised that Ghandour would put it as a “creditor-and-debtor” relationship, which is impossible where natural resources are concerned.

The Egyptian FM questioned the reasons and motives behind such “inaccurate” statements in this time.

The Sudanese minister’s statements came days after Egypt’s negotiations with Ethiopia and Sudan failed to approve an initial study on the effects of the Ethiopian Grand Renaissance Dam (GERD) on the downstream states.

The irrigation ministers of Ethiopia and Sudan did not approve the consultant company’s introductory report of the studies despite Egypt’s initial approval, while asking for amendments that would affect the studies and make the report contentless.

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn are scheduled to meet in Cairo next month to discuss the deadlock.

Egypt is worried about its annual share of 55.5 billion cubic meters of the Nile River water amid the GERD’s rapid construction.

Egypt’s ties with Ethiopia have seen ups and downs since the latter started the dam project since April 2011 as Egypt has been suffering from turmoil following an uprising that toppled former president Hosni Mubarak.

When President Sisi took office in 2014, he showed understanding of Ethiopia’s aspiration for development through the GERD that would produce around 6,000 megawatts of electricity to the country.

In March 2015, the leaders of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan signed an initial cooperation deal on the principles of sharing the Nile River water and the construction of the GERD, which will be Africa’s largest dam upon completion.

Earlier in 2010, an agreement was signed among some Nile Basin states in Uganda’s Entebbe about the sharing of the Nile River water, but it was rejected by Egypt and its downstream partner Sudan, citing the deal affects their usual annual share of the Nile water.

On the other hand, relations between Egypt and Sudan have been tense over the past years on various issues.

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President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi warns Nile water
share “matter of life or death” for Egypt

CAIRO Egypt (Xinhua) -- Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi said on Saturday that Egypt’s share of Nile water is “a matter of life or death” for his nation.

“No one can touch Egypt’s share of Nile water,” Sisi said in a televised talk during the inauguration of the Middle East’s largest fish farm in Kafr El-Sheikh province Delta.

It is Sisi’s first remarks on the Ethiopian Grand Renaissance Dam (GERD) since negotiations between Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia stalled over the project last week.

Last week, Egypt’s negotiations with Ethiopia and Sudan failed to approve an initial study on the effects of Ethiopia’s new dam on the downstream states.

The irrigation ministers of Ethiopia and Sudan did not approve the consultant company’s introductory report of the studies despite Egypt’s initial approval, while asking for amendments that would affect the studies and make the report contentless.

Sisi and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn are scheduled to meet in Cairo next month to discuss the deadlock.

Sisi noted that he understands the developmental goals behind the GERD, adding that the development for Ethiopia in this case is a “matter of life and death” for Egypt.

Egypt is worried about its annual share of 55.5 billion cubic meters of the Nile River water amid the GERD’s rapid construction.

Egypt’s ties with Ethiopia have seen ups and downs since the latter started the dam project in April 2011 as Egypt has been suffering from turmoil following an uprising that toppled former president Hosni Mubarak.

When Sisi took office in 2014, he showed understanding of Ethiopia’s aspiration for development through the GERD that would produce around 6,000 megawatts of electricity.

In March 2015, the leaders of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan signed an initial cooperation deal on the principles of sharing the Nile River water and the construction of the GERD, which will be Africa’s largest dam upon completion.

.

Egypt concerned about Nile water share after
fruitless meeting with Ethiopia and Sudan

CAIRO Egypt (Xinhua) -- Egypt on Sunday expressed concern about its share of the Nile River water after its meeting with Ethiopia and Sudan failed to approve an initial study on the effects of Ethiopia’s new dam on the downstream states.

The two-day ministerial meeting of the tripartite technical committee of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), which kicked off on Saturday, failed to approve an introductory report by a consultant company on the dam’s effects on the two downstream countries, namely Egypt and Sudan.

“Egypt is concerned about this development that could obstruct technical studies despite Egypt’s efforts and flexibility over the past months to make sure the studies will be completed as soon as possible,” said Egypt’s Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Mohamed Abdel-Aati.

The irrigation ministers of Ethiopia and Sudan did not approve the consultant company’s introductory report of the studies despite Egypt’s initial approval, while asking for amendments that would affect the studies and make the report contentless.

Egypt is worried about its annual share of 55.5 billion cubic meters of the Nile River water amid the GERD’s rapid construction.

Egypt’s ties with Ethiopia have seen ups and downs since the latter started the dam project since April 2011 as Egypt has been suffering from turmoil following an uprising that toppled former president Hosni Mubarak.

When President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi took office in 2014, he showed understanding of Ethiopia’s aspiration for development through the GERD that would produce around 6,000 megawatts of electricity to the country.

In March 2015, the leaders of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan signed an initial cooperation deal on the principles of sharing the Nile River water and the construction of the GERD, which will be Africa’s largest dam upon completion.

Earlier in 2010, an agreement was signed among some Nile Basin states in Uganda’s Entebbe about the sharing of the Nile River water, but it was rejected by Egypt and its downstream partner Sudan, citing the deal affects their usual annual share of the Nile water.

On the other hand, relations between Egypt and Sudan have been tense over the past years on various issues.

In May, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir accused Egypt of providing military support to armed rebels in his country. The two countries also have a territorial dispute over the border region of Halayeb and Shalateen.

.

OCTOBER 2017:

Ethiopia Grand Renaissance Dam has reached 62 percent completion rate

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua)-- The Ethiopian government on Friday disclosed that the construction of its 6,450 MW Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) has reached 62 percent completion rate.

With the current speed of the dam construction, it’s expected test power generation will start in 2018, Hailu Abraham, Public Relations Head at Office of Ethiopia National Council for the Coordination of Public Participation on the Construction of GERD, told Xinhua.

“Currently 11,000 people are working on GERD, 300 of whom are foreigners, with the Italian firm Salini Impregilo undertaking the civil works while a local firm Metal and Engineering Corporation is undertaking mechanical and hydraulic works,” he said.

The construction of the dam, which will be Africa’s largest dam upon completion with a total volume of 74 billion cubic meters, was started in April 2011 with a cost of about 4.7 billion U.S. dollars.

The GERD project, owned and financed by the Ethiopian government, is ongoing on the Blue Nile River, located some 40km east of Ethiopia’s neighboring country Sudan.

“When complete, more than 50 percent of the dam’s generated electricity will be sold to Nile river basin countries and neighboring countries,” said Abraham, adding that the Ethiopian government has placed the dam’s completion at the center of Ethiopia’s economic ambitions.

The Ethiopian government even sees the electricity generated from the dam being sold in the future as far north to Morocco and as far south to Tanzania.

Acutely aware of the national and international significance of the project, the Ethiopian government has facilitated visits so far to the dam site to more than 260,000 Ethiopians and more than 400 local and foreign media outlets since April 2011.

Ethiopia’s Blue Nile river contributes 59 percent of the Nile river basin’s water flow, with Egypt who relies on the Nile river as the only ground fresh water source having in recent times expressed concern on the impact the dam will have on its water share.

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Ethiopian, Sudanese, Egyptian water ministers discuss on Ethiopia grand dam

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- Ministers of Water and Irrigation of Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt on Wednesday discussed on ways to continue the two commissioned studies on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), which are not progressing at the required level.

Egyptian Irrigation Minister, Mohamed Abdel-Aty, Sudanese Minister of Water Resources, Irrigation and Electricity Affairs, Muataz Musa, and Ethiopian Minister of Water, Irrigation and Electricity, Sileshi Bekele, have on Tuesday visited the dam’s construction site in Ethiopia’s Benishangul-Gumuz regional state on the Blue Nile River, located some 40km east of Ethiopia’s neighboring country Sudan.

Since the commencement of the construction of the dam, the three countries agreed to conduct an assessment by an International Panel of Experts (IPoE) so as to build trust among Ethiopian and the two lower riparian counties.

After the assessment, the Panel of Experts recommended studies to be conducted on filling and operation of the dam’s reservoir, including its impact on the lower riparian countries.

Following the recommendation of the IPoE, the three countries hired two French firms, Artelia and BRLi, to conduct two studies on the dam at a cost of 4.5 million Euros in September 2016. The progress of the two studies, however, has not met expectation.

The three ministers, during their discussion in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa on Wednesday, have discussed on ways to solve differences related to technical studies of the dam, which will be Africa’s largest hydroelectric dam upon completion with a total volume of 74,000 million cubic meters.

Bekele, who affirmed Tuesday’s visit as an impetus for further discussions, indicated that the difference related to the construction of the dam could be resolved “if it is perceived rightly and regardless of political and other issues.”

Bekele also stressed the need for cooperation in the filling and operation of the dam as one of the 10 principles that the heads of the three countries agreed in March 2015 in Khartoum.

Abdel Aty, who expressed his country’s disappointment at the delay of the work of the joint study scheduled to start last February, indicated that Egypt was “very concerned with the delays in the joint studies recommended by the International Panel of Experts (IPOE).”

Abdel Aty, who recalled the contract that was signed with the consultancy firm back in September 2016 to commence the studies on February 15 this year, stressed that the situation is critical considering the inability to approve the Draft Inception Report so far.

Musa on his part said that the Nile River should be the foundation of cooperation and development between the three countries, adding a consensus needs to be reached regarding the preliminary report.

According to the Ethiopian Water, Irrigation and Electricity ministry, the construction of the dam has presently reached 60 percent completion.

             

 

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