By Fanuel Lakew
In an exclusive interview with the Ethiopian Press Agency journalists Sudanese Scholar Dr. Osman Eltom Hamad, Adviser for the Minister of Water Resources and Electricity in the Republic of Sudan said: “I personally believe that Egyptians will come to realize that it is the right of Ethiopia to develop its water resources.”
Dr. Osman made this remark at the regional conference on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) Project and its contribution to economic integration organized by the House of Federation and stakeholders held in Assosa recently.
Dr. Osman also said that, through discussion, countries in the basin could come to a common ground regarding how to utilize the resources and work for mutual benefits. Both countries (Ethiopia and Sudan) or the region as a whole should look into what are the fears of others and try to address them.
Dr. Osman noted, fear can be avoided by looking for and finding common ground.
“Some day I will see that the Eastern Nile countries will come together as one economic block. And decision makers could take this as a vision to be realized gradually in the coming 50 years,” he added.
Dr. Osman further noted that Sudan and Ethiopia could act together along with other Eastern African countries because we have so many things that would compliment us. Dr. Yacob Arsano, Hydro-Politics Lecturer at the Department of Political Science and International Relations of Addis Ababa University said that the Sudanese show their interest and cooperate with Ethiopia by providing machinery and other support because they understood that the GERD will benefit them in terms of availing constant water supply through out the year while helping decrease siltation and accessing low cost electric power supply.
Dr. Yacob also said that the paradigm of Egypt on this topic has somehow showed a change lately. Egyptian politicians want the construction of GERD to delay or slowdown but Egypt will face isolation as the regional countries come together in search of mutual benefits.
Water, Irrigation and Energy Minister Alemayehu Tegenu thanked the House of Federation for organizing such symposium for representatives of the Eastern Nile countries. He said the symposium is unique and significant as it was held in conjunction with the 9th Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Day and the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the FDRE Constitution.
Alemayehu appreciated Sudanese Minister of Water and Electricity Ambassador Mutaz Musa, and, Egyptian Minister of Water and Irrigation Professor Hossam Mohamed Mohgazy for their assistance, openness and constructive engagement for the success of the tripartite discussions.
He pointed out that Ethiopia would continue its policy of genuine cooperation and equitable and reasonable utilization of the water, causing no significant harm and promoting a win-win approach in trans-boundary water management.
In the symposium, the status of the GERD Project which currently stands at 42 per cent and the tripartite discussions made between the ministers of water affairs and experts of the three countries were presented.
Environmental, social and safety issues of GERD were also raised and discussed during the symposium.
Various papers were presented followed by thorough discussion with academics drawn from various institutions including government bodies from Sudan and Ethiopia.
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