Irrigation and water resources ministers of Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia are set to meet in Sudan’s capital Khartoum next week to sign the consultation offices’ agreements of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), according to the spokesperson of Egypt’s Irrigation and Water Resources Ministry Waleed Haqiq.
African expert on Sudan and Nile basin countries at Ahram Center Hany Raslan told Daily News Egypt that the two main studies that will be conducted by these consultation offices are the dam’s implications on the water’s hydraulic head to Egypt and Sudan, and the economic and social implications of GERD.
Raslan added that these contracts were supposed to be signed in August 2014, and that the results of these studies will take about 11 months to be issued. However, the three countries kept postponing the measure.
Raslan said: “Ethiopia has announced its stance more than once. It said that the studies of these consultation offices will be respected, but that they are not obligatory. Also, it said that these studies will help in the operation process of GERD, but will have no effect whatsoever on the construction process.”
Former minister of foreign affairs Nabil Fahmy said on Tuesday in an interview with a privately owned TV channel that the Egyptian government has to disclose everything pertaining to GERD to the public. He further expressed his concerns over GERD due to the lack of guarantees provided by Ethiopia to Egypt and Sudan. He concluded that it is about time the Egyptian government discloses all the facts of the GERD issue.
Professor of water resources Nader Nour Al-Din previously told Daily News Egypt that the consultation offices will take up to 12 months to study the side effects of GERD on Egypt, and that by then, Ethiopia will have completed the construction of the dam. He also said that Ethiopia brought up the consultation offices issue to win time.
Despite the tension that erupted between Egypt and Ethiopia over the past few years since Ethiopia started to construct the GERD, spokesperson of the Foreign Affairs Ministry Ahmed Abou Zaid previously told Daily News Egypt that it had no effect on the bilateral relations between the two countries.
Sudan, Egypt, and Ethiopia signed a declaration of principles in March 2015, in which they agreed on the construction of the GERD. The government is claiming that the consultation offices will guarantee that the water share of each country will not be affected.