Ethiopia, Egypt, Sudan agree to study filling of Nile dam

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Aerial
view of Grand Ethiopia Renaissance Dam.
Officials
from Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan early Wednesday announced progress in talks on
what will be Africa’s largest hydroelectric dam.
The
foreign ministers of Egypt and Ethiopia and Sudan’s water resources minister
said they will set up a scientific study group to consult on the filling of
Ethiopia’s $5 billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Nile River. They
also confirmed that leaders from the three nations will meet every six months
for consultations.
The
latest talks came after a round of negotiations last week in Cairo failed. More
high-level talks are set for July 3 in Cairo.
Egypt
fears too much of the Nile’s waters could be retained each year, affecting its
agriculture. Ethiopia maintains that the dam’s construction will not reduce
Egypt’s share of the water and that it will help Ethiopia’s development,
pointing out that 60 million of its citizens don’t have access to electricity.
“We have
charted a road map that, if successful, will be able to break difficulties that
we have been facing,” Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry told reporters
after the marathon talks.
“One step
forward to Ethiopia,” the country’s foreign affairs spokesman, Meles Alem, told
The Associated Press on Wednesday.
The
mega-dam is now more than 63 percent complete. Once complete it will generate
about 6,400 megawatts, more than doubling Ethiopia’s current production of
4,000 megawatts.
According
to a document obtained by the AP, the scientific group will discuss and develop
“various scenarios related to the filling and operation rules in accordance
with the principle of equitable and reasonable utilization of shared water
resources while taking all appropriate measures to prevent the causing of
significant harm.”