Egypt voiced concern over “delays” in concluding the recommended study on the environmental impacts of Ethiopia’s multibillion dollar hydro-dam project.
This came during a meeting of water ministers of Sudan, Ethiopia and Egypt in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa today.
“Egypt is very concerned with the delays in the joint study recommended by the IPOE [International Panel of Experts],” Mohamed Abdulati, Egyptian minister of water and electricity, said in a speech ahead of Tripartite National Technical Committee’s (TNC) meeting.
Since the $4.8 billion hydro-electric dam project near the Sudan border was launched in 2011, Egypt has been crying foul saying the dam would reduce its “traditional” share of the Nile waters. Ethiopia said it needs the dam for its development and that the dam would not have a significant impact on downstream countries.
Tensions between Ethiopia and Egypt calmed down when their leaders agreed to set up a platform for dialogue when they met in the capital of Equatorial Guinea, Malabo, in 2014.
In 2015, the leaders of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan signed a “Declaration of Principles” regarding the construction of the dam in which they pointed out the dam should not have any significant harm on downstream countries.
Ethiopia, which claims to have completed an impact assessment unilaterally, says the dam is beneficial to the downstream countries as it reduces evaporation and loss of substantial amounts of water and it prevents silting that clogs dams in Egypt and Sudan.
Seleshi Bekele, Ethiopian minister of water, said: “Ethiopia is fully committed on sharing relevant information with both Egypt and Sudan; and has been inviting both countries to address concerns and resolve misunderstandings.”
“Indeed, we made lots of success in creating platform for dialogue and enhance understandings. Our commitment as ever is based on key principles of win-win, no significant harm, equitable utilisation and cooperation,” he said.