Ethiopia approves expert panel for dam projecy

A proposed dam on Ethiopia's Blue Nile river threatens to divert the flow of water on the world's longest river.

Ethiopia approves expert panel for dam projecy

World Bulletin / News Desk

The Ethiopian Embassy in Khartoum announced late Sunday a conditional acceptance of an Egyptian proposal on forming a committee of international experts on Ethiopia's controversial Renaissance Dam.

In a statement, the Embassy said Egypt had refused an Ethiopian proposal to contract a consulting firm to conduct studies on the dam.

It went on to add that the Ethiopian delegation, out of a desire to bridge gaps, accepted an Egyptian proposal on forming a committee of international experts on the dam.

The embassy insisted that the new international panel must forward irreconcilable differences to the tripartite committee of national experts formed by Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt, which should submit its final report to the ministers of the three countries.

If the ministers failed to reach an agreement, the embassy added, then the differences should be forwarded to the new international panel.

The tripartite committee of experts was drawn up in 2011 and tasked with assessing the dam's possible environmental, economic and social effects on downstream countries Egypt and Sudan.

The committee recently called for further study of safety issues related to the dam's construction and the project's possible impact on the two downstream states.

Trilateral talks between Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia on the controversial dam project ended Sunday in Khartoum without an agreement.

Following the talks, Egyptian Minister of Irrigation Mohamed Abdel-Muttalib said the Egyptian side has put forward proposals for cooperation between the three countries.

"But the Ethiopian side refused to even discuss it," he added.

Sunday's talks were the third attempt by the three countries to reach an agreement on forming a committee that will be tasked with overseeing the construction of a huge Ethiopian dam on the Blue Nile.

Ethiopia's plans to build the dam have raised fears in Cairo that the move would threaten Egypt's historical share of the historical river, which represents the country's primary water source.

In May, Addis Ababa diverted the flow of the river, further raising concerns in Cairo.

Ethiopia, for its part, insists the new dam will benefit Egypt and Sudan, both of which will be invited to purchase electricity generated by it.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 06 Ocak 2014, 11:09