From: Parveen Ahmed, Associated Press
Published September 21, 2005 12:00 AM

Delegation Leaders 'Satisfied' with Talks on Shared Rivers

DHAKA, Bangladesh — Bangladesh and India on Tuesday ended a second day of talks on the use of water from rivers bordering both countries, with delegation leaders saying they were satisfied and optimistic over the discussions.


The neighboring countries share 54 rivers.


Indian Water Resources Minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunshi told reporters the talks were "good and hopeful."


His Bangladeshi counterpart, Hafizuddin Ahmed, said that negotiations were moving forward and that he was "more or less satisfied and hopeful."


The ministers did not elaborate.


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Officials from both sides were preparing a joint report on the meeting's outcome, and the ministers were set to hold a news conference when the talks end Wednesday.


The Indian minister sought to allay Bangladesh's concerns over a proposed Indian project to link several waterways. He said the project it was unlikely to materialize.


"It will not happen in 2,000 years," Dasmunshi said.


Among the contentious river-sharing issues are India's plans to divert surplus water from rivers in its flood-prone east to its arid central, western and southern regions. Bangladesh fears the proposed project would reduce water levels in its delta region.


On Monday, the first day of the talks, India agreed to give Bangladesh earlier warnings when shared rivers were flooding.


The two countries also reviewed a 1996 treaty to share the waters of the Ganges River, and discussed ways to prevent erosion.


Source: Associated Press


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