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TVC NEWS [ADDIS ABABA] - Ethiopia’s minister of water and energy Motuma Mekasa on Saturday said the French and Dutch consultants have failed to come up with a common guideline to implement the technical studies for the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).
Mekasa, who addressed the opening session of the tripartite national technical committee on GERD in Cairo Saturday, said “we will discuss several options during this meeting”.
The Ethiopian minister further underlined that his government has already embarked on preparing the required technical studies indicating they are not the party responsible for the delay in the preparation of those studies.
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 fears the dam will negatively affect its traditional share of water from the Nile, its only source of water which has been determined by a colonial-era water-sharing treaty.
But Ethiopia insists that this will not occur and asserts that the project is indispensable to its own national development and the economic welfare of its burgeoning population.
The Ethiopian minister provided three other options including to continue working with the French and Dutch consultants after overcoming their differences, to select one consultancy firm to undertake the required technical studies or to choose two other firms from those which were shorted-listed previously.
The three countries had previously formed a committee to select a consultancy firm to assess the impact of GERD on Sudan and Egypt. Four consultancy firms from France, Australia and Netherlands had been short-listed initially and invited to submit their proposals.
Mekasa pointed to the negative impact of poverty on people due to absence of food security and energy, saying “we need equitable use for our available resources in order to meet food and energy needs, eradicate poverty and raise the standard of living”.
He said that the real motive behind building the GERD is to combat poverty and achieve sustainable development by generating clean energy, expressing his government’s commitment to implement the framework agreement signed by the leaders of the three countries.
Mekasa also underscored his country’s readiness to exchange information with the members of the tripartite committee and implement the recommendations and outcome of the technical studies pertaining to the GERD.
Last March, the leaders of Sudan, Ethiopia and Egypt signed in Khartoum a framework cooperation deal on the GERD. The leaders said the “declaration of principles” would pave the way for further diplomatic cooperation on the GERD which has stirred fears of a regional resource conflict.
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