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Breakthrough: Ethiopia, Egypt, Sudan agree to dam filling studies

Staff Writer |
Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt agreed to conduct an independent study in order to dispel worries on water flow impact by the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) currently being built on the Nile.

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As the construction of the $5 billion dam comes close to completion, Egypt has been expressing fears that water flowing downstream would be reduced. Ethiopia has contended otherwise.

The agreement in Addis Ababa to establish an independent study group on filling the dam came Wednesday after the foreign ministers of the three countries, along with other officials, held closed-door meetings over the past two days.

Meles Alem, spokesman of the Ethiopian Foreign Affairs Ministry, described the agreement as "a breakthrough" in the drawn-out talks between the three countries.

The three countries have been in talks on the GERD since March 2015 when they adopted a Declaration of Principles including the principle of “no significant harm” on downstream countries.

According to Egyptian local media, the country depends on water from the Nile water for drinking and irrigation purposes. Cairo reportedly regularly cites 20th century agreements that, it says, offer the country the right to veto or approve irrigation projects in the upstream countries.

Ethiopia began construction of the 6,000-megawatt dam over the Blue Nile River in 2011.

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