Egypt and Ethiopia to discuss Nile dam stalemate

A proposed dam for Ethiopia's Blue Nile threatens Egypt's main water source.

Egypt and Ethiopia to discuss Nile dam stalemate

World Bulletin / News Desk

Egyptian Irrigation Minister Mohamed Abdel-Muttalib is due in Addis Ababa on Monday for a one-day visit for more talks on Ethiopia's River Nile multi-billion dollar hydroelectric dam project, which Egypt fears would undermine its water share.

In a statement on Monday, the Irrigation Ministry said Abdel-Muttalib's visit comes at an invitation from his Ethiopian counterpart Alemayehu Tegenu.

Ministry spokesman Khalid Wasif said the minister's talks in Addis Ababa will mainly focus on sticky issues.

Plans by Ethiopia to build a hydroelectric dam, called the Renaissance Dam, over the Blue Nile where most of Egypt's Nile water revenues come, has sent shockwaves down the Nile Delta and the valley in Egypt.

Nile water distribution among the countries of the Nile basin used to rest on a colonial-era agreement giving Egypt and Sudan the lion's share of Nile water.

Citing development ambitions, Ethiopia insists it needs to build a series of dams to generate electricity both for local consumption and exporting.

"Egypt's position on the Renaissance Dam is unchanged," Abdel-Muttalib told journalists on Sunday.

"This position does not run counter to Ethiopia's desire to achieve high economic growth rates to fulfill the aspirations of the Ethiopian people," he asserted.

He noted that Egypt would not object to these Ethiopian dreams as long as they do not harm Egypt's Nile water share.

In May, Addis Ababa diverted the flow of the Blue Nile, further raising concerns in Cairo.

Ethiopia, for its part, insists the new dam will benefit Egypt and Sudan, both of which will be invited to purchase electricity generated by it.

A tripartite committee of experts from Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan was drawn up in 2011 and tasked with assessing the dam's possible environmental, economic and social impact.

The committee, which includes six members from the three countries along with four international water experts, recently called for further study of safety issues related to the dam's construction and the project's possible impact on the two downstream states.

Last Mod: 10 Şubat 2014, 18:10
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