Ahram Online, Sunday 5 Jan 2014
Ethiopia’s Great Renaissance Dam is constructed in Guba Woreda, some 40 km (25 miles) from Ethiopia’s border with Sudan, June 28, 2013. (Photo: Reuters)
Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan failed to reach an agreement in the tripartite negotiations regarding the construction of the Ethiopian Grand Renaissance dam, state news agency MENA reported.
MENA reported that Ethiopia has refused to discuss the terms of “confidence-building measures”, which Egyptian officials say must be changed in order to avoid reduction of Egypt’s Nile river water share.
Also, Ethiopia insisted on special conditions to an international conflict-resolution committee that Egypt believes “would deplete it from its original purpose of being an impartial moderator between the three countries,” according to a statement released by Egyptian authorities.
The Khartoum talks, which lasted for two days, ended by leaving an open door for any suggestions that might arise between the three countries.
The planned Grand Renaissance Dam is a $4.2 billion hydro-electric dam – the largest hydroelectric plant in Africa – and a source of concern for the Egyptian government since May, when images of construction stirred public concern over Egypt’s share of Nile water, the main source of potable water.
Egypt has demanded that Ethiopia submit construction plans for the dam for assessment by international experts.
In the opening of the conference on Saturday, Ethiopian Irrigation Minister Alamayo Tegno said his country is committed to the recommendations of an international committee of experts.
Tegno added that the Grand Renaissance Dam represents a strategic priority for Ethiopia that will have a vital role in eradicating poverty.
He also stated that the dam would have great and positive effects for Nile Basin countries, emphasising the need for cooperation and transparency during the tripartite talks.
In June, Ethiopia’s parliament ratified a treaty allowing upstream countries to implement irrigation and hydropower projects without first seeking Egypt’s approval.
The deal replaces a colonial-era agreement formerly granting Egypt and Sudan the majority of Nile River water rights.