Egypt denies Ethiopia row over dam study deadline

by Zelalem

World Bulletin / News Desk

Egyptian Irrigation Minister Hossam Moghazi on Friday denied reports that Ethiopia had asked to extend the deadline for a technical study on the anticipated impact of a controversial mega-dam that it is building on the Nile River’s upper reaches.

“The agreement between Cairo, Addis Ababa and Khartoum to allow a six-month period for carrying out the evaluation has not changed,” Moghazi told The Anadolu Agency.

In recent days, certain Egyptian media outlets had reported that Ethiopia had asked to extend the sixth-month deadline to two years.

Moghazi, however, said some research firms that had been shortlisted by a tripartite technical committee to conduct two impact studies on Ethiopia’s dam project had asked to postpone submission of their proposals.

He added that the committee had given the firms a December 30 deadline by which to submit proposals.

Since September, a Tripartite National Committee – a 12-member experts’ panel responsible for aiding implementation of recommendations issued by an International Panel of Experts – has held two working sessions in Addis Ababa and Cairo.

At the two meetings, representatives of the three countries were able to produce a list of seven firms, one of which will be selected to conduct the studies.

Ethiopia says the multibillion-dollar Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam is needed to generate badly-need energy. The project has strained Ethiopia’s relations with downstream Egypt, which fears the project will reduce its historical share of water.

Addis Ababa, for its part, insists the new dam will benefit Egypt and Sudan, both of which will be invited to purchase the electricity thus generated.

Egypt and Ethiopia agreed to resume tripartite talks – along with Sudan – after Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi met on the sidelines of a June summit in Equatorial Guinea.

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