World Bulletin / News Desk
A tripartite technical committee tasked with studying Ethiopia's mega-dam being built on the Nile River convened in Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on Saturday.
The panel brings together four experts from Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan for talks on the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).
The two-day meeting will discuss the date and means of hiring an international consultant to conduct two studies on the Ethiopian dam project.
Head of the Egyptian delegation Ashraf El-Ashaal said that Egypt has come up with three points to be included in the agenda, but refused to detail them.
"The points are ones that we think would expedite the whole process," he told Anadolu Agency.
Ethiopian delegation head Gedion Asfaw, for his part, said Ethiopia wants the bidding process to be in line with international standards and procedures.
"This will ensure the conduct of a credible and acceptable study," he said. "It is on the basis of the final report of the international panel of experts that we are meeting today."
He said that Ethiopia is ready to expedite the work of the technical panel.
"We will discuss the issue of the selection of the international firm that is expected to conduct the two studies," he said.
Seifedin Hamad, the head of Sudan's delegation to the meeting, said that "The issues that are being discussed in the current meeting are not the hard ones."
Ethiopia is building a $6.4-billion hydroelectric dam on the upper reaches of the Nile River – Egypt's primary water source.
The project – which Ethiopia says is necessary for its national development plans – has raised alarm bells in Egypt, which relies on the river for almost all of its water needs.
Ethiopia insists the project won't impact Egypt's traditional share of Nile water, which has long been determined by a colonial-era water-sharing treaty that Addis Ababa has never recognized.
Last month, a trilateral committee – comprised of the Egyptian, Ethiopian and Sudanese water ministers – convened in Khartoum where they agreed to form a follow-up committee comprised of water experts from the three countries to discuss the impact of the Ethiopian dam project.