Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia ministers to sign dam contract next week

The Egyptian, Ethiopian and Sudanese ministers of Water Resources and Irrigation will meet in Khartoum early next week to sign a contract with the French consulting office conducting technical studies on the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.
Twelve experts are to join the ministers in the Sudanese capital for meetings on Monday and Tuesday in preparation for a French consultancy firm to begin hydraulic, economic and environmental studies of the Grand Renaissance Dam.
The signing comes after two years of negotiations and tense discussion between the countries over the potential impact of the project on the three Nile basin nations.
Informed sources told Al-Masry Al-Youm that Egypt received an invitation to sign the documents, in accordance with the planned schedule, on September  5 and 6, following the completion of the reviewing and drafting of the contract. Ethiopia has not given any indication that the signing could be postponed.
Egypt has been reviewing the items of the contract with UK-based law firm Corbett, the administrative and financial intermediary for the deal between the three countries. Special attention was paid to identifying any unclear phrasing and possible loopholes in the terms of the contract.
A MoU including mechanisms for implementing the results of studies is expected to be signed by the three countries as well, the sources said.
The studies should identify the potential negative effects of the dam on hydraulicity and the movement of Nile water, and whether it would reduce the amount of water that reaches Egypt's High Dam and Delta barrages. An assessment of the potential economic and social impact of the project on Egypt and Sudan is also to be supplied in the studies.

Whilst some countries in the Nile basin have expressed support for the Ethiopian construction project, which began in 2011, Egypt has spearheaded opposition to the dam, citing negative impact on downstream water flows as the main concern.

A tripartite committee from Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt was formed to discuss objections to the dam's construction, and it was agreed in 2014 that environmental impact studies would be conducted.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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