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Foreign minister Amr's Ethiopia visit lifted tensions: Egyptian diplomat

Ethiopian foreign minister to visit Egypt soon, says Egyptian ambassador in Addis Ababa

MENA and Ahram Online, Wednesday 19 Jun 2013
Egypt's ambassador in Addis Ababa, Mohamed Idris (Photo: Ahram Arabic news website)
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Egypt’s ambassador in Addis Ababa, Mohamed Idris, stated on Wednesday that hostility between the two African countries was “eliminated” following the visit of Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr to Ethiopia earlier this week.

Idris added that the visit has also succeeded in establishing a medium for constructive dialogue and means of cooperating for achieving the interest of both countries.

“The other target that has been achieved from the visit is the agreement on jointly implementing the recommendations of the tripartite committee’s technical report,” said Mohamed, adding that the Ethiopian foreign minister is expected to visit Egypt soon.

Amr arrived in Addis Ababa on Sunday, where he met with his Ethiopian counterpart Tedros Adhanom in an attempt to reduce diplomatic tensions over the Nile water issue.

Egypt and Ethiopia engaged in a sharp exchange of words after Ethiopia began diverting the Blue Nile in order to construct its $4.2 billion hydro-electric project, dubbed the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.

On Tuesday a joint statement was issued by Egypt and Ethiopia’s foreign ministers announcing that Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia will start negotiations on recommendations by the technical committee on the Ethiopian Nile dam project.

The foreign and water resources ministers of the three countries are expected to start negotiations on the political and technical aspects of Nile water division, read the statement.

For decades, Egypt held veto rights over all upstream projects, following powers granted by a 1929 colonial-era treaty with Britain.

Egypt's subsequent 1959 deal with Sudan divided the Nile waters between the two countries, with Egypt taking 55.5 billion cubic metres of a total of 74 billion, after evaporation.

This week, South Sudan signed the Cooperative Framework Agreement of the Nile Basin countries, sometimes known as the Entebbe agreement, which aims to replace these accords. Ethiopia, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya and Burundi are also signatories. Egypt has stated its intention not to sign the accord without modifications.

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