Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia sign contracts on GERD Dam impact studies -

Technical teams of Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia on Monday have Initialed the additional studies agreement of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). The final signing ceremony will take place in Khartoum on Tuesday.
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A man walks over a bridge by the construction of Ethiopia’s Great Renaissance Dam in Guba Woreda, some 40 km (25 miles) from Ethiopia’s border with Sudan, June 28, 2013 (REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri)
Last year, Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia signed a declaration of principles on the dam project that tacitly approves the dam construction but calls for technical studies aimed at safeguarding the water quotas of the three riparian states.
On September 22, 2014, a tripartite committee from the three countries proposed the conduction of two additional studies on the dam project, the first one on the effect of the dam on the water quota of Sudan and Egypt and the second one to examine the dam’s ecological, economic and social impacts of the dam on Sudan and Egypt.
The French engineering consultancy Artelia and BRL groups have been selected to undertake the dam impact studies. The U.K.-based law firm Corbett & Co was selected to manage the legal affairs of the tripartite committee.
In a press statement after the initial signing, the head of the Sudanese technical team, Saif al-Din Hamad said there are no differences between Sudan, Ethiopia and Egypt on the additional studies items.
“There are no differences between the consultancy and the legal offices on the final contract of the technical studies and the signing was delayed to enable the ministers of water resources in the three countries to attend the ceremony,” he pointed.
On his part, the head of the Egyptian Technical part, Ahmed Baha, said that all the contracting documents will be signed by the heads of the technical committees of the three countries stressing that the observations of all the counties have been taken into account.
“The final contract with the consultancy offices will take place on Tuesday in the presences of ministers of water resources in the three countries and the representatives of the consultancy offices,” said Baha pointing that the representatives of the French Artelia and BRL groups and U.K.-based law firm Corbett & Co are on their way to Khartoum to attend the final contracts signing ceremony.
Earlier in September, the meeting of the tripartite technical committee was delayed due to differences between Artelia and BRL and the legal consultant Corbett & Co.
The consultancy office will study the environmental and ecological, social and economical effects of the dam.
The multi-billion dollar dam is being constructed on the Blue Nile, about 20 kilometers from the Sudanese border, and has a capacity of 74 billion cubic meters, and is expected to generate electrical power of up to 6,000 megawatts.
Egypt is concerned that the dam could reduce its quota of 55.5 billion cubic meters of the Nile water, while the Ethiopian side maintains that the dam is primarily built to produce electricity and will not harm Sudan and Egypt.
Last May, Ethiopia’s Minister of Information and Communication Getachew Reda said the GERD is almost 70% complete.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia have surpassed disputes over GERD:

 "Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia have surpassed disputes over GERD: Sudanese FM 

MENAFN - Daily News Egypt - 28/08/2016

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(MENAFN - Daily News Egypt) Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia have surpassed their disputes over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), and have moved to a new cooperative phase in economic, political, and security-related fields, Sudanese foreign minister Ibrahim Ghandour said on Saturday.
In a press statement, Ghandour added that the three countries are currently considering the cooperation plans suggested by Egypt. He added that some events are upcoming to further boost this cooperation, such as an Egyptian-Sudanese summit held in Cairo in October, as well as a tripartite summit in which the three heads of state will announce a new development fund between the three countries.

Former assistant minister of foreign affairs Mona Omar commented on Ghandour's statements, saying that the disagreement between Egypt and Ethiopia is focused on different opinions rather than over the GERD. For the issue of the dam, the two countries will rely on consultation offices.

However, Nader Nour Al-Din, a professor of water resources, previously told Daily News Egypt that these consultation offices will not prove fruitful, as these studies will take 12 months to conduct, by which time Ethiopia will have completed construction of the dam.

The three countries signed in March 2015 a declaration of principles, whereby they agreed on the construction of the dam. Nevertheless technical studies will be conducted to guarantee that each country's water share will not be affected.

Though GERD has strained relations between Egypt and Ethiopia since the beginning of its construction, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ahmed Abou Zeid previously told Daily News Egypt that it had no effect whatsoever on the bilateral relations between the two countries.

Ethiopian minister of information and communications said in May that about 70% of the dam's construction is complete.


Thursday, July 21, 2016

Egypt has Netanyahu mediate in Ethiopian dam crisis

Ethiopian Renaissance Dam in July 2016

Ethiopian Renaissance Dam in July 2016
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will mediate between Egypt and Ethiopia regarding the latter’s dam project which Cairo believes will have a detrimental effect on its economy, Israeli magazine Mida reported yesterday.
His appointment comes following Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri’s visit to Tel Aviv soon after Netanyahu returned from a tour of Africa. Netanyahu will replace former Fatah leader Mohamed Dahlan.
Mida reported that Netanyahu had told Ethiopians to continue in their talks with Egypt and advised them not to harm the north African state’s interests.
Cairo fears the Renaissance Dam will lead to a reduction in its water supply from the Nile, and also reduce the electricity it generates from the Aswan Dam, which will be cut by between 25-40 per cent when the first stage of the project is complete.
Russia had previously suggested Egypt build a nuclear power plant to combat the effects of the dam and ensure it has a sustainable electricity supply.
Construction of the dam is expected to be finalised in 2017.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Egypt may be ‘wasting time’ in GERD talks with Ethiopia: professor - Daily News Egypt

Al-Sisi and Desalegn met in Rwanda for bilateral talks including the controversial GERD issue

Renewed talks between Egypt and Ethiopia on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) may be going in the wrong direction, as one professor at Cairo University believes.
President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi met with Ethiopian prime minister Hailemariam Desalegn on the sidelines of the 27th African Union summit in Kigali, Rwanda.
Presidency spokesperson, Alaa Youssef, said both parties were looking forward to the start of the international consulting desk’s studies regarding the GERD, in order to reach a common ground between Egypt’s concerns over a potential decrease in Nile water share and Ethiopia’s developmental endeavours.
Another tripartite summit is expected to be held soon between Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia to discuss the procedures of flooding water in the dam for the first time.
The GERD, of which 70% has been completed, has strained relations between Ethiopia and Egypt since construction began in 2011, with relations reaching their lowest point in 2013.
In early June, Egypt’s foreign ministry said it is finalising the deals with the consulting agencies to assess the impact of the GERD. Last December, Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan signed the Khartoum Document, addressing ways to enforce and execute the declaration of principles.
Nader Noor El-Din, water resources professor at Cairo University, warned against the direction in which Egypt is heading in this file.
“Those consulting studies are completely useless,” he told Daily News Egypt. “The studies are expected to take 17 months as an average while the GERD completion is scheduled for October 2017, which is 12 months away from now. The results of these studies are also non-binding.”
Noor El-Din suggested that Egypt should resort to the international court and the United Nations Security Council to prove the potential risks of the construction on Egypt’s access to water. Those risks are inevitable, according to him. “If this potential harm was proven later on, Egypt would not be able to take this legal path,” he said.
More practical actions should be taken, Noor El-Din further noted. “Egypt should start negotiating for its water share, otherwise it will be wasting its rights,” referring to the expedite progress in the GERD construction.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Controlling Nile Waters: Egypt Wants Lion’s Share

By John Agaba
Added 15th July 2016 09:29 AM
“We don’t have any other water resource in Egypt. Egyptians are recycling drainage water several times."
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The regional ministers took a group photo. (Credit: Kennedy Oryema)
ENTEBBE - The meeting of ministers on the council for water affairs from the 11 member states that share the River Nile waters concluded Thursday at Protea Hotel in Entebbe just like it had started, with the Egyptians sticking to their guns and demanding  to have a seal of approval for every mooted project on the Nile.

It had been hoped that following a series of discussions, the Egyptians would duck and let the Cooperative Framework Agreement signed in 2010 dictate proceedings on how the waters can be shared.

But after yet another meeting that involved ministers from all member states except South Sudan, the Egyptians still said the treaty was “unfair” and called for “more dialogue” to accelerate fair use of the Nile waters.
The Second Deputy Prime Minister Kirunda Kivejinja (2nd-R) launching the Nile Basin Initiative Atlas, with Executive Director John Nyaoro (R), Tanzanian Minister of Water and NBI outgoing Chairman Jerson Lwenge (2nd-L) and incoming chairman Sam Cheptoris (L). (Credit: Kennedy Oryema)

Egyptian water minister Mohamed Abdelaty said “we need to understand that Egypt relies on the Nile water for 95% of its water resources” and that “at the same time, Egypt is a desert”.

“We are not against other countries building dams [on the Nile]. But we want to give advice on how best this dam can be constructed to keep the waters’ natural flow,” he said.

“We don’t have any other water resource in Egypt. Egyptians are recycling drainage water several times. So you have to understand our position. If there is no River Nile, there is no Egypt.”

But the Egyptian minister said they are “open minded” and willing to discuss a way forward if member states are willing to be “flexible” and understand where their (Egyptians’) stand comes from.

Entitled the Cooperative Framework Agreement, the 2010 treaty joins countries – Burundi, Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo – that are seeking what they consider a more equitable share of the river’s waters.

Egypt and Sudan are still mulling over the framework’s provisions. But Sudan seems to be leaning towards the nine (that have already signed), leaving Egypt as the only country opposing the move.

Under the treaty, any of the Nile Basin nations may use the waters of the River Nile without seeking approval from the Egyptians.

In 2015, foreign ministers of Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia had to first sit on a roundtable and reach an agreement on the use of the waters before construction of Ethiopia’s Grand Renaissance Dam could be okayed.

Uganda’s water and environment minister Sam Cheptoris, who assumed the Nile Basin Initiative chair from his Tanzanian counterpart at the meeting, called for stronger cooperation between the countries to fight climate change as well as degradation.

He said the countries need to “work together” amidst the threat of climate change and to devise means that can sustainably use the Nile without ‘killing’ it.

Second Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of East African Affairs Kirunda Kivejinja, representing Prime Minister Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda, said the ministers have to devise policies that will improve livelihoods of people and eradicate poverty in the communities that share the waters.

“Uganda will continue to adhere to the international law on the use of shared water resources,” he said.

The minister of water and irrigation for Tanzania Eng. Gerson Lwenge, who at the same time was the outgoing chair, expressed concern over increase in water scarcity as years come and go.

The meeting discussed challenges of inadequate funding. It said some member states were not remitting their $137000 contributions in time, calling on them to clear their arrears.

It also discussed the challenge of poverty in the region, saying 10 of the 11 countries still belong to the least developed.