World Bulletin/News Desk
Egypt is following up the issue of detaining three nationals by Ethiopian security forces, Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmi has said.
"I knew about the arrest of three Egyptians in Ethiopia and we are following up the issue," Fahim was quoted by the private newspaper Youm7 as saying during his current visit to Equatorial Guinea.
"We will announce all the details of the crisis within the next few hours," he added.
Fahmi's statements were the first Egyptian reaction to reports about the arrest of three Egyptians in Ethiopia.
On Thursday, Anadolu Agency quoted a well-placed Ethiopian source as saying that Ethiopian security forces had arrested three Egyptians in the westernmost Gambela region near the border with South Sudan.
The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said two were arrested while trying to board a public bus bound for Assosa in the Benishangul-Gumuz Region, where Ethiopia is building the multibillion-dollar Renaissance hydroelectric dam on the Nile River.
The third, he added, was seized by Ethiopian citizens while taking pictures of a new dam being constructed on the Baro River, a tributary of the Nile River.
According to the well-placed source, the three Egyptians are currently in police custody in Gambella where they are being interrogated.
He said they had been arrested earlier this week, declining to give their names for security reasons.
"The papers with the three Egyptians carried different names …We are still in the early stages of the investigation," the source said.
Earlier, Ethiopian and Somali websites identified the three arrestees as Youssef al-Haj, Ismail Azeezi and Hassan Garay.
The trio was found to have entered Ethiopian territory illegally without registering at any of the four border crossings between Ethiopia and South Sudan, the source said.
They are expected to face charges of illegal entry, holding forged visas and threatening the country's vital facilities, the source said.
The arrests come amid heightened tension between the two countries over the Renaissance dam.
The project has raised alarm bells in Egypt, the Arab world's most populous country, which fears a reduction of its historical share of Nile water.
Water distribution among Nile basin states has long been regulated by a colonial-era treaty giving Egypt and Sudan the lion's share of river water.
However, citing its need for development, Ethiopia says it must build a series of dams to generate electricity, both for local consumption and export.
Addis Ababa insists the new dam will benefit downstream states Sudan and Egypt, both of which will be invited to purchase the electricity thus generated.
Last Mod: 10 Mayıs 2014, 13:08