ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) --
Water ministers of Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt on
Tuesday commenced trilateral ministerial discussion in
Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa on the filling of Ethiopia’s
The Ethiopian Grand
Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) - 74,000 million cubic meters
hydroelectric dam under construction on the Blue Nile River that
originates from Ethiopia and shared among the three countries -
has been at the center of recent discussions among Ethiopia,
Sudan and Egypt.
The three countries’
water ministers, during their latest meetings, are expected to
discuss the findings of the National Independent Research Group
on filling operation of GERD, according to Ethiopia’s state news
Irrigation and Electricity Minister Selishi Bekele said during
the opening of the ministerial meeting on Tuesday that the
meeting is expected to deliberate on pending issues that aimed
at narrowing misunderstandings and gaps.
“This meeting gives
us the opportunity to look at the study results and resolve
issues and move forward with other cooperative areas that the
countries should develop further,” Bekele added.
Bekele further vowed
that “the GERD will be filled without causing any significant
harm to the downstream countries based on the Declaration of
Principles and recommendations we have been underlying in the
Resource and Irrigation Minister, Mohamed Abdel Atty said the
meeting is part of the commitment of the three countries to send
their queries and comments to the National Independent Research
“I look for the
possible best scenario for filling that could have no
significant harm on the downstream countries and fulfill all the
requirements for operating the GERD,” he added.
Sudan’s new Water,
Irrigation and Electricity Minister Kedir Kesem Al Seid also
stressed the potentials of the summit to uplift the three
countries ties, with due emphasis given to Ethiopia’s grand dam.
“We came with open
mind to see if there are any differences in the National
Independent Research Group that we can close,” he said.
The construction of
GERD, which will be regarded as Africa’s largest dam upon
completion with a total volume of 74,000 million cubic meters on
the river has been a major issue among the countries since its
commencement in April, 2011 with a construction cost of 80
billion Ethiopian birr (close to 4.7 billion U.S. dollars).
While Ethiopia and
Sudan reached mutual consensus on the construction of the 6,450
MW hydro dam, Egypt frequently expressed its concern that the
dam would affect its share of the river.
The three countries
had formed a tripartite committee back in 2012 to create
understanding and look into the benefits and impacts the project
would have on the three countries.