KHARTOUM (Xinhua) — A tripartite committee of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) will select in early March an international consultative office to be entrusted with preparing all hydrologic and environmental studies on the controversial dam, said Egypt’s Minister of Irrigation Hossam Moghazi on Saturday.

“The 12 experts of the three countries, Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia, will begin, as of Sunday, studying and evaluating the offers presented by four consultative offices,” Moghazi, who is currently visiting Khartoum, told Xinhua.

He added that the name of the selected office will be announced in a meeting to be held in Khartoum by the end of the first week of March.

He said that the committee would then meet in Addis Ababa, Ehtiopia, to sign a contract with the winning office so that it would begin to implement the required studies on the dam and its impacts, stressing the three countries’s commitment to respecting the results.

Meanwhile, the Egyptian minister reiterated that the differences between his country and Ethiopia over the dam have vanished, thanks to an approved roadmap which bridged the gap between the two sides.

He further stressed the importance of the joint work by the three countries to achieve unity among the eastern Nile Basin countries.

“It is important to work together. It is true that the issue is thorny and complicated and directly associated with a destiny of around 250 million people in the three countries, but there must be a joint work,” he said.

He went on saying that each country has its own concerns over the dam.

Ethiopia is concerned with the electricity generation, Egypt with the water deficiency and Sudan with the floods danger management, he pointed out, stressing that cooperation can address all these issues.

The GERD extends on an area of 1,800 square km and is scheduled to be completed in a period of three years at a cost of about 4.7 billion U.S. dollars. So far, around 30 percent of the dam project has been finalized.

In the meantime, Khartoum on Saturday hosted an unofficial meeting for the water and irrigation ministers of the Nile Basin Initiative’s.

The meeting was attended by all members of the Nile Basin Initiative, the first time since 2010 when Entebbe Agreement was signed before it was followed by differences between the Nile upstream countries and the two downstream countries of Sudan and Egypt.

“Egypt is keen to strengthen the Nile Basin Initiative as it is one of the founders. After all these years, we have decided to participate after realizing the initiative is facing financial problems and the donor countries set the consensus among the basin countries as a condition to provide fund,” the Egyptian minister noted.

Meanwhile, he refused to comment on the possibility that Egypt would join Entebbe Agreement.

The Nile Basin Initiative brings together Egypt, Sudan, South Sudan, Uganda, Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Tanzania, Rwanda, Kenya and Eritrea.

Source: Global Post

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