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Egypt does not view Ethiopian dam as threat, says minister

Menna Alaa El-Din , Thursday 14 Jan 2016
GERD
A general view of Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam, as it undergoes construction, is seen during a media tour along the river Nile in Benishangul Gumuz Region, Guba Woreda, in Ethiopia March 31, 2015 (File Photo: Reuters)
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Egypt's irrigation minister Hossam Moghazi said on Wednesday that although Egypt is “worried” about Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam, it does not view it as a “threat.”

In a TV interview with satellite channel MBC Misr’s “Happening in Egypt,” Moghazi stressed that Egypt is not against the development of Nile Basin countries, adding that Ethiopia has always had an “ambitious” plan for generating power through dams.

He said that Egypt’s initial concern was over Ethiopia’s decision to increase the dam's storage capacity to 74 billion cubic metres of water. Before Egypt’s 25 January uprising of 2011 which ousted president Hosni Mubarak, the dam was planned to store 14 billion cubic metres of water.

Following the uprising, Moghazi said, Egypt was facing political unrest and did not have any vision or plans regarding the already under-construction dam until president Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi was elected to office in June 2014.

Two foreign consultancy firms, the French Artelia and BRL, have been tasked with conducting two studies on the dam, the more significant of which is assessing the possible risks the dam could present to downstream countries.

Artelia replaced the Dutch Deltares firm following its withdrawal in September 2015.

"The two consultancy firms will work together in a balanced way so they can deliver a neutral study," Moghazi said.

The risk assessment study – to start in February – is projected to be completed in eight months, while the other study, which addresses environmental concerns, is to take three months to conclude, with both studies scheduled to be finished in 11 months.

Moghazi clarified that the two studies will not be concerned with a redesign of the dam.

On Wednesday, the state-run Ethiopian Broadcasting Company (EBC) reported that Ethiopia has rejected an Egyptian proposal to redesign parts of the water outlets of the dam, increasing the number of outlets from two to four to allow increased water flow to the downstream countries.

“The decision to build two openings came following intensive studies, and Ethiopia does not need to redesign the dam project,” Bizuneh Tolcha, public relations director at the Ethiopian Ministry of Water and Irrigation, told EBC.

Last Sunday, Egypt's President El-Sisi stressed on the importance of reaching a solution regarding Ethiopia's Renaissance Dam at a Cairo meeting with Sudanese foreign minister Ibrahim Ghandour.

El-Sisi stressed that “reaching an understanding is critical given that the River Nile is the only source of water for Egypt.”

Although Egypt has repeatedly expressed concern over the dam's possible effect on the country, Ethiopia insists it will not negatively affect Egypt's share of Nile water.

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Kal
15-01-2016 11:53am
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Liars
The fact is a long way off; Egypt is always against the stabilized and prosperous Ethiopia.
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Egypt flip-flop
15-01-2016 06:00am
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Egypt flip flopping
It does not matter what you say, Ethiopia does not rely on you.
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kemal
15-01-2016 01:10am
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Not a Red Line?
Now it is a fait accompli, almost, Egyptian Government is avoiding facing the music in a dignified way and forgot saying the dam was a red line and an existential threat. Now the issue is dam storage quantity. Him, a government that prides itself of 162M2 dam in a desert, and wasting in old irrigation system, is complaining about 74m2 storage capacity in a safe temperate zone. comes 2017 I wonder what they will say? GERD is an egyptian project? by the way, this is only the first of more dams to come - irrigation in pipeline. face the music and get ready to payfor every ounce of water you waste!
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neil
14-01-2016 11:17pm
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fire him
Egypt has a new parliament, and so needs to appoint a new cabinet; so time to replace anyone and everyone who lets Ethiopia's 'leaders' talk and act like first-class jackasses. Egypt is surrounded by idiots with delusions of grandeur, from Erdogan and his neo-Ottoman empire, to Saudi wahab heretics claiming to run the 'sunni' world, just because the anglo-amerinican oil conglomerate lets them play minister and roulette, plus Ethiopia desiring to be horn of africa 'regional power'. Egypt doesn't humor Erdogen in his megalomania, and it shouldn't humor the wahab heretics or Ethiopian beavers, either. Either Minister demands that Ethiopia stop construction until all regular studies are complete + abide by decisions.... or step aside and let somebody who will.
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kal
15-01-2016 07:44pm
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No option!
You are left with only your nightmares and it is over to see poor Ethiopia in your morning.
LM
15-01-2016 04:02pm
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Really?
Why should Ethiopia stop construction? So the dam could die a death of a thousand cuts? Egyptians have done all they can to stall the project which will do nothing more than cause devastating cost overruns. This isn't about Ethiopia becoming a regional power, which by the way, it already is. What it is about is defeating poverty and actually bringing the country into the 21st century. Egypt can't demand anything. To suggest that Egypt has some executive power over Ethiopia's use of water flowing through her borders is a direct affront to her sovereignty. Egypt has no legal or moral right to do that consider the acts of subversion and sabotage they've committed against Ethiopia in the past to keep those people poor. Enough is enough with Egypt superiority complex and the white liberals who support them.
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Tut
14-01-2016 06:51pm
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Egypt does not view the dam as threat!
BASED ON WHAT? ... "The risk assessment study – to start in February – is projected to be completed in eight months, while the other study, which addresses environmental concerns, is to take three months to conclude, with both studies scheduled to be finished in 11 months" ... When are going to get REAL FACTS!!!
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