Ethiopia hasn’t complained to UN over dam comments: Morsi spokesperson

Ahram Online, Wednesday 5 Jun 2013

Presidential spokesperson denies reports that Ethiopia has complained to UN over controversial comments made at dam meeting

An Egyptian presidential spokesperson has denied reports that Ethiopia has filed a complaint with the UN Security Council over comments made at President Morsi's meeting on Ethiopia's Renaissance Dam.

The meeting, which was broadcast live without the knowledge of some attendees, came under fire for featuring indiscreet, off-the-record statements.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said his country would file a complaint about the meeting with the UN.

"No official move, however, has been taken," spokesperson Omar Amer said on Tuesday in televised comments.

Among the controversial comments were that Egypt could indirectly threaten military action against Ethiopia, while another proposed "destroying" the dam.

Amer stressed that President Morsi had concluded the meeting by highlighting Egypt's respect for both Ethiopia and Sudan.

Some participants expressed displeasure and surprise that the meeting had been televised live, but others had known about the situation, Amer stated.

Amer reiterated the presidency's apology for not informing all participants about the live broadcast, stressing it was a mistake.

"It was initially planned that the meeting would be recorded and aired the following day as is usually the case, but due to the importance of the topic it was decided at the last minute to air the meeting live," presidential aide for political affairs, Pakinam El-Sharqawy, said via Facebook on Monday. "I forgot to inform attendees of the changes."

On 28 May, Ethiopia began diverting the course of the Blue Nile, one of the Nile River’s two major tributaries, as part of its project to build a new $4.7 billion hydroelectric dam. The move has heightened concerns in Egypt and Sudan, both dependent on the world's longest river for water.

Ethiopian officials have attempted to dispel fears about the dam's potential impact on downstream states, insisting the project will ultimately benefit all riparian states.

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