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Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan sign new Grand Renaissance Dam agreement

Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan sign new Grand Renaissance Dam agreement

Ethiopia

Ministers from Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia met in Khartoum on Tuesday, where they agreed to arbitrate between two French engineering companies to overcome their differences in the Renaissance Dam case.

The three countries had initially picked French firm BRL and Dutch firm Deltares in April but Deltares later withdrew leading them to replace it with French firm Artelia on Tuesday.

Ethiopia began the construction of the Grand Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile basin from the largest tributary of the Nile. This hydroelectric project has raised tensions between Ethiopia and Sudan and Egyptian neighbors, because they depend on the Nile for their water supply.

The dam has been paralyzed for years owing to pressure from Cairo and Khartoum, demanding guarantees for their water supply.

Since the construction work started in April 2011, there have been eleven negotiating sessions which bore fruits when an agreement in principle was signed on March 23, 2015. The talks however resumed in the Sudanese capital on 27 December after the parties involved were unable to square up their differences. Sudanese Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour said the Foreign, Water and Irrigation Minister of these three countries had agreed on arbitration of French engineering groups BRL and Artelia.

“70% will BRL and the rest will be given to Artelia. Both offices will begin their studies early February 2016 for a period of six months and arbitration will be agreed by the three countries,” he said.

The dam has been paralyzed for years owing to pressure from Cairo and Khartoum, demanding guarantees for their water supply.

In March, the Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn has said the dam would not harm the three countries, particularly the Egyptian people. Now, all rely on the French arbitration to end years of disagreement.

The Great Renaissance Dam whose production will be 6,000 megawatts is set for completion in 2017.

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