Egypt irked by ‘delay’ in Nile dam’s impact assessment

 

Egypt voiced concern over “delays” in concluding recommended study on the environmental impacts of Ethiopia’s multibillion dollar hydro-dam project.

This came during a meeting of water ministers of Sudan, Ethiopia and Egypt in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on Wednesday.

“Egypt is very concerned with the delays in the joint study recommended by the IPOE [International Panel of Experts],” Mohamed Abdulati, Egyptian minister of water and electricity, said in a speech ahead of Tripartite National Technical Committee’s (TNC) meeting.

Since launching of the $4.8 billion hydro-electric dam project near the border to Sudan in 2011, Egypt has been crying foul saying the dam would reduce its “traditional” share of the Nile waters. Ethiopia said it needs the dam for its development and that the dam would not have significant impact on downstream countries.

The two French consultancy firms — Artelia and BRL — submitted a report containing status of the study to the committee composed of 12 experts, four members from each country.

Tensions between Ethiopia and Egypt calmed down when their leaders agreed to set up a platform for dialogue when they met in Malabo in 2014.

In 2015 in Khartoum Sudan, the leaders of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan signed a “Declaration of Principles” regarding the construction of the dam in which they pointed out the dam should not have any significant harm on downstream countries.

Ethiopia, which claims it had done impact assessment unilaterally before, says the dam is beneficial to the downstream countries: it reduces evaporation and loss of substantial amount of water and it prevents silting that clogs dams in Egypt and Sudan, among other benefits.

Seleshi Bekele, Ethiopian minister of water, said: “Ethiopia is fully committed on sharing relevant information with both Egypt and Sudan; and has been inviting both countries to address concerns and resolve misunderstandings.

“Indeed, we made lots of success in creating platform for dialogue and enhance understandings. Our commitment as ever is based on key principles of win-win, no significant harm, equitable utilization and cooperation,” he said.

 

Source : AA

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