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Addis Ababa continues to assure downstream nations over dam project

Egypt has repeatedly claimed that the Renaissance Dam in Ethiopia would drastically affect its share of Nile water

Ahram Online , Tuesday 3 Mar 2015
Tedros Adhanom
Ethiopia's foreign minister Tedros Adhanom (Photo: Reuters)
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Addis Ababa has renewed on Tuesday its assurances that a contested hydroelectric dam project that Ethiopia is building will do no harm to its downstream neighbours, amid ongoing talks aimed to resolve disputes over the mega project on the Nile river.

The foreign ministers of Ethiopia, as well as the downstream countries of Egypt and Sudan, have been convening for a new round of talks in the Sudanese capital which spans three days, Khartoum.

"Ethiopia is committed to 'fruitful' cooperation with Egypt and Sudan to overcome points of contentions in regards to the dam," Ethiopia's foreign minister, Tedros Adhanom, said in comments carried by Egypt's state-run news agency MENA.

Speaking at a news conference, the minister reiterated that the dam, planned to be Africa's biggest hydro station, "would not harm the interests" of the down river nations.

Egypt has repeatedly voiced anxiety over a looming cut to its water share with Ethiopia's plans to fill the dam's 74 billion cubic meter reservoir on a Nile tributary, which supplies the world's most populous Arab country with the bulk of its water.

Sudan, bordering Egypt and Ethiopia, which also relies on the Nile for much of its water, said it backs the project.

According to Adhanom, technical talks over the regional impacts of the 6,000 megawatt dam is slated to take place on Thursday, as a result of recommendations by international experts and the tripartite 'National Committee' of the three countries.

A panel of specialists, including several international experts, concluded last year that studies to assess the dam’s impact on the flow of the Nile were insufficient and that further investigations were needed.

In August, Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan agreed to complete the dam studies within six months.

Ethiopia and other Nile Basin countries signed a 2010 pact to work on river projects without Cairo's prior consent, stating that Egypt's claims to the bulk of the Nile water is invalid.

 

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