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Egyptian satellite to monitor construction of Ethiopia's disputed dam

Officials in Cairo hope that the satellite's findings will strengthen their position in the debate over Ethiopia's projected hydroelectric dam

Ayat Al-Tawy, Wednesday 30 Apr 2014
Renaissance Dam
Water gushes out from pipes by the construction of Ethiopia's Great Renaissance Dam in Guba Woreda, some 40 km (25 miles) from Ethiopia's border with Sudan, June 28, 2013. (Photo: Reuters)
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A new Egyptian satellite will track the construction of an Ethiopian hydroelectric dam over which officials in Cairo and Addis Ababa have been locked in a standoff over fears that the project will hinder Egypt's access to the Nile river waters.

Launched almost two weeks ago, Egysat will monitor Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam by capturing high quality photos of the construction site along with other sources of the Nile, said Alaa El-din El-Nahry, vice president of Egypt's National Authority for Remote Sensing and Space Sciences.

The LE300 million satellite – which will come into operation in mid-June after a two-month test period – will track the dam's height, storage capacity and water discharge. It will also monitor the Kongo River basin to assess the effectiveness of a proposed project to link the Kongo and Nile rivers.

Egypt's government believes the satellite's findings will bolster its negotiations with Ethiopia and provide legal ground in case it must resort to international arbitration over any violations in the dam's stated purpose of electricity generation, El-Nahry said during a seminar in Cairo, according to Al-Ahram's daily Arabic newspaper.

Egypt has been particularly concerned that the dam, now more than 30 percent finished, will hugely impact its share of the Nile, the country's main source of potable water.

Situated near the Sudanese border on the Blue Nile, a Nile tributary, the hydroelectric dam will be the biggest in Africa, capable of producing 6,000 megawatts of energy.

Last week, Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn urged Egypt to return to the tripartite discussions with Ethiopia and Sudan in an effort to settle the dispute. The three countries have been engaged in a series of dialogues since the launch of the project three years ago.

Last year, Ethiopia and five other Nile-basin countries – Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya and Burundi – endorsed an accord, the Co-operative Framework Agreement, which replaces a 1929 treaty granting Egypt veto power over any project on the Nile in upstream countries.

Sudan, Egypt's immediate downstream country, has backed Ethiopia's plans to build the dam.

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28



Dessalegn Assen
05-05-2014 04:01pm
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Dam not for fight insded for light
I can comment Egyptian government officials to influence Ethiopian dam.do you know how much trees are cut every day in Ethiopia? which came due to lack of fuel.if this deforestation continues for the next 30 years the Nile water amount reduced by half this is great headache to Egypt and changes the geopolitics of East Africa.to avert this desertification Ethiopian Government start a natural conservation activity to increase the water content and to reduce the degradation of soil in Ethiopian highland. finally to use the water more millions of years Egypt and Ethiopian government must cooperate and must not Nile to Diverse the internal political problem of both countries. have a good new on the wins countries
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27



Emam
02-05-2014 09:56pm
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satellite for what?
No matter what Egypt will not harm Ethiopia. If Egypt declare or attack Ethiopia, NO NILE FOREVER which will be more risk for Egypt. There are over 20 lakes/rivers makes the blue nile and they are located in Ethiopia. EGYPT MUST COLONIZE Ethiopia to insure nile flow. I don't think this will ever happen too expensive. I suggest Egypt should import from RED SEE OR any other regions, buy or exchange with something. Forget your satellite and invest on water. Lastly Egypt never been part of Africa, wrong place wrong time. No one cares for EGYPT. When millions of Ethiopian died from starvation did Egypt offer anything? I doubt it. INVEST ON WATER INFACT EGYPT MUST ETHIOPIA FOR NILE USAGE FOR LAST DECADE OR START PAYING NUTHING IS FREE IN THE 21ST CENTURY!
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Dessalegn Assen
05-05-2014 03:47pm
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Coopration will give more power
Egypt must cooprate with Ethiopia in Afforestation programe which increase the water input and long lasting environmental sistainalility.militerisim affect both countries and rise negative effect with other up stream countries.1929 and 1959 colonical trieates are graved by 2010 treaty.
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eli
02-05-2014 10:49am
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Spying..
Now it is very clear the path Egypt wants to take. Spying a country is a huge offense that could mean declaration of war. This shows their disrespect for the people of Ethiopia. That can be reciprocated
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Salahadin
02-05-2014 07:40am
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Avoid Media consumption , acknowledge the fact and negotiate
It is a bare fact what the nature of the dam would be , ,it is assessed by the international panel of experts. The size and the impact of the dam is well assessed. "we will track the dam's height, storage capacity and water discharge" doesn't make sense. Unless for media consumption, what matters, as your country genuine professor said it, it is not of the size of dam that matters, it the amount of discharge. For Ethiopia we can not for any reason block the water if it generated electricity. Geographically it is not possible for Ethiopia to use it for irrigation , despite we have full right to do so.If block for no reason it would overflow. If for a logical reason the amount reduced, then it would equally reduce to the down stream.The facts are clear and no need of further jargon to use it for political consumptions.Come to your concious and sit for a dialogue of mutual benefit.If we sit and open your heart and mind, you will make use of the opportunity,which you may miss otherwise
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balchuut
02-05-2014 03:35am
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about satelite
i think Egyptians lost their mind. we Ethiopians are totally different in our approach to any one. choose the best method and we will come up with the same. its time for Ethiopia to sell the nile to middle east thru the pipe line.we have absolutely total right in out backyard to do whatever we want.
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Denboba Ali
01-05-2014 09:39pm
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Is that the best you have
I think that is not the best solution to bring peace , sharing natural resource fairly and equally is the best solution in this planet, we appreciate your advancement on technology but it is only loose money if you are targeted GERD, please come to the table to discuss in all matters and keep Egypt wrights on the Nile." Ethiopia is Nile and Egypt is a gift of Nile ".
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David
01-05-2014 06:15pm
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respond to the satellite issue
I a suggestion to Egyptian leaders instead of swaisting their carency for none sense michince of earth and ear get your act together and put up your money spend it for alternative resource, which it is your under ground. Come on and man up guys! Stop being a spoiled child.
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Habtekewondo
02-05-2014 09:28am
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it is worthless
I dont understand why Egyptians go here and there in search of useless help from others? Ethiopia officially asks egyptians to resume talk. other than bilateral consensus there is no way for Egypt;Ethiopia is on the right track!!GERD project is our hallmark which we are committed to build rather than investing your money on satellite come to talk.
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Challa
01-05-2014 05:56pm
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Positive Development
I think this is a positive development for the whole Nile basin, as a confidence building mechanism. The contentious issue is that Egypt is concerned about the reduction of water as a result of the Dam, Ethiopia and Sudan believe that the Dam is rather beneficial to all the three countries. In that case, if the information confirms for Egypt that the Dam is not harmful as Ethiopia and Sudan say, then its all the merrier. It helps to build confidence and mutual trust between the country and will help contribute to peace and prosperity in the region.
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20



Zemedkun
01-05-2014 04:31pm
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Well done Ahram
Stop bulshitting and negotiate to buy electricity when the dam is completed. As for the Satellite thing that you are bragging about, we will jam it. What a waste of money!
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19



Fim Esat
01-05-2014 03:16pm
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What you will see from above
You will also see us smiling at you!
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