"Full Momentum" GERD; Water Ministers Meet

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Water ministers of Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt Wednesday discussed in Addis Ababa, ways to address the outstanding issues after a study done by consultancy firms over the Renaissance Dam filling period (Sudan Tribune).

The ministers addressed reservations raised particularly from Cairo after the International Panel of Expert’s (IPoE) submitted its recommended studies to governments of the three countries and concluded their discussions by drafting guidelines to be provided to the consultancy firms on ways how to move forward on the pending issues.

Prior to the meeting, ministers of the three countries paid a visit to the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) which the horn of Africa’s nation is building along the Nile River near the Sudanese border.

"The visit to the dam project is in a bid to further boost the level of existing transparency and in turn uplift, the confidence among the three countries with regard to the Dam," said the office of Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia.

The dam, which is 60 percent complete, will start generating electric power from the Nile River in the current fiscal year, a senior Ethiopian official said on 17 October (Journal do Cameroun).        

Debretsion Gebremichael, Board Chairman of the National Council for the Coordination of Public Participation for the Construction of GERD and the current Minister of Communication and Information Technology said the dam’s construction “is going on in full momentum”.

“The remaining 38 percent of the construction will continue while the dam will keep on generating hydroelectric power”, Debretsion said.

“Activities that would enable to fill the dam with water and generating power will be conducted soon”, according to the Minister.

Egypt has, particularly, voiced concern again this week over "delays" in concluding studies on the environmental impacts of the multibillion dollar project.

"Egypt is very concerned with the delays in the joint study recommended by the IPOE [International Panel of Experts]," Mohamed Abdulati, Egypt’s Minister of Water and Electricity, said in a speech ahead of the technical meeting.

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.